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Confidence On Display On Josh Rosen's First Day

Posted May 11, 2018

Shows chemistry with Christian Kirk to open rookie minicamp

Cardinals first-round draft pick Josh Rosen throws a pass during his first practice Friday at rookie minicamp.

The play came against rookies, some of whom will never play a down of NFL football, and it came without pads in the 100-degree heat of May.

But near the end of Friday’s initial rookie minicamp practice, first-round quarterback Josh Rosen settled back in the pocket, waited patiently for second-round wide receiver Christian Kirk to execute a perfect stop-and-go to blow past his defender deep, and then hit Kirk in stride for a long touchdown.

“We were kind of on a roll at that point,” Kirk said.

Foreshadowing the future, Rosen was asked? “Yeah, maybe,” Rosen answered.

Making any determinations about the path of the top two draft picks and Rosen in particular are unrealistic after a single day. Rosen had some jitters early that even coach Steve Wilks noticed, but that faded as the plays went by, leading to his pretty pass to Kirk.

“He’s so confident, you could see as you went on with practice,” Wilks said. “Throws were on time, accuracy was there.”

It was the “procedural” stuff – calling the plays, getting in and out of the huddle – that had the most rust Friday, Rosen said. But Wilks was pleased with how Rosen showed in that regard, and added that the quarterback was as advertised in terms of intelligence and picking up the offense quickly.

Rosen said that will take work – “It’s a pretty big pill of a playbook to swallow” – but he wouldn’t say it was more work than expected. It’s his offense now, he said, so it doesn’t matter how it compares to other systems he has run.

If there was anything coaches stressed to him for minicamp, it was his demeanor. That had to be on point, if not for him, for his fellow rookie teammates.

“Going in the huddle, even if I don’t know what’s going on, at least act like I know what is going on and instill confidence,” Rosen said. “You want to walk in the huddle and have the guys follow you.”

“Indecisiveness is probably the biggest cause of turnovers,” he added. “You have to be confident. If you are going to make a mistake, make it full speed.”

Wilks liked that Rosen didn’t seem to let a bad snap or a bad throw bother him on the next rep, or that he was trying to justify his draft position – or the things he had said about being drafted higher – impact him on the field.

“I don’t think he’s out to try and prove anything to anyone,” Wilks said.

He did look good working with Kirk. Rosen and Kirk had a previous relationship, having crossed paths several times in various Nike camps while in high school. Rosen had tried to get Kirk to join him at UCLA as they were being recruited, so in some ways, the quarterback already had a comfort level with his top receiver Friday.

“We always made sure when we were out there together we took reps together (at the camps),” Kirk said. “We kind of had that thing going, had that type of chemistry. He is a real accurate passer and puts it where it needs to be, so it was nothing new, really.”

Rosen said it was difficult to say exactly how the learning curve will show until he gets on the field with the veterans, players who have already had weeks to absorb the playbook and know the league. Right now, everyone on the field is at the same stage.

But at least he’s on the field.

“It’s just nice to get out there after such a long draft process to get out and start playing football again,” Rosen said.

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