TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Josh Rosen jogged onto the field as an Arizona Cardinal for the first time on Friday and took a moment to reflect.
“When I stepped in the huddle,” the young quarterback said, “I kind of looked at the guys and I’m like, `This is pretty cool.’”
Rosen was the center of attention, as usual, on the first day of Cardinals rookie minicamp, starting out slowly but finishing with a crisp performance capped by a long TD pass to fellow rookie and camp roommate Christian Kirk.
Although he may have to wait awhile, Rosen is the Cardinals’ quarterback of the future after the team traded up five spots to take him No. 10 overall in the draft. He’s already signed his contract with Arizona.
After Friday’s workout, he talked about how he’s approaching his new job and even touched on how he deals with being such a lightning rod for criticism — mainly centering on his personality and often from people who don’t really know him.
“You ignore it,” Rosen said. “It’s only hard if you make it hard. If you’re Googling your name every other day and trying to like reach out to people, yeah, you can make it harder on yourself. But as far as I know if you keep your phone limited to messages and calls and you don’t read too much. The only thing that matters are the guys in the building and that’s what I’m trying to keep it at right now.”
He said he’s had a couple of conversations with Larry Fitzgerald, the 14-year veteran who is among the most-admired players in the game for his behavior on and off the field.
“He’s probably one of the greatest to ever do it,” Rosen said. “So I’m just trying to emulate every little thing he does, how he approaches the game as such a professional. There’s a lot to take from it.”
He’s also heard from Sam Bradford, the player signed to be Arizona’s opening-day quarterback next season. Bradford offered to help in any way with Rosen’s development.
“I think it speaks to him as a person how he’s willing to sort of embrace the competition but also embrace sort of the team aspect,” Rosen said. “And I’m the same way. Regardless of starter or backup, I want the Arizona Cardinals to do the best possible, because I want to be in the Super Bowl. If that means for this year the best way to do that is to have Sam start, then so be it. But I’m helping, I’m going to push him every single day and likewise I would hope he would do the same thing with me.”
The most important thing for him to show on his first day, Rosen said, was “demeanor.”
“Even if I don’t know what’s going on, at least act like I know what’s going on,” he said. “… Be confident, be firm, snap the ball, get back and do it again.”
In truth, new Cardinals coach Steve Wilks is impressed with how quickly Rosen is picking up the offense of coordinator Mike McCoy.
“Phenomenal,” Wilks said. “The guy’s extremely smart. We said that from Day 1. He’s picking up the offense. He’s doing a great job there, taking control of the huddle and getting everybody in line. No questions about that from the standpoint of his leadership.”
Although Rosen said that nine teams — later amended to three to reflect the QBs selected ahead of him — made big mistakes on draft night, Wilks said, “I don’t think he’s out to try to prove anything to anyone.
“He’s being his own person. We have accepted him for the person that he is and the player that he is. I don’t think we have a problem at all. We’ve had our talks and it’s all about football and staying focused and really concentrating on that.”
Rosen, Wilks like to say, “is wired different, and I like that.”