David Johnson knew the questions were coming, including one about what the Cardinals might do at quarterback – keep incumbent Josh Rosen or draft Kyler Murray.
“I like Josh,” the Cardinals’ running back said, adding “it’s a business and we know that.”
With a media session Tuesday as the Cardinals began their voluntary offseason program this week, the returning players who talked were inevitably asked about their quarterback. Their backing was plain.
“He’s a great leader,” Johnson said of Rosen. “I talk to him all the time, not just about football. How his classes are going this offseason. He was a guy who, as soon as he got into the building last year, he was talking to us, trying to get more familiar with us.”
Johnson said veteran quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon praised Rosen’s work ethic last year, working through a change in coordinators in addition to personnel issues throughout the offense.
“Mike told me he was doing everything he could,” Johnson said.
Rosen did not speak Tuesday. Linebacker Chandler Jones also credited Rosen’s leadership skills as a rookie in 2018, and said Rosen handled himself last season like any quarterback would.
“I don’t really live in his brain to know how tough it is for him,” Jones said. “I feel like any quarterback in the NFL, that first year is going to be difficult. There is a transition coming from college, always. I don’t care if you are Josh Rosen or Tom Brady, your first year in the NFL is going to be difficult.”
Safety Budda Baker said he saw the media report Monday how Rosen was the first one in for the voluntary program and didn’t think it was a big deal.
“To me, that’s nothing different,” Baker said. “That’s how he has always been.”
As a running back who played with veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, Johnson said Rosen has shown the same leadership skills as Palmer did.
Johnson said he told Rosen to “ignore” all the talk, comparing the rumor mill to his own dealings with fantasy football fallout from fans.
“People from outside don’t really know what is going on inside,” Johnson said. “(You) come ready to play, learn the playbook and let the chips fall.”
The players begin the offseason program under new coach Kliff Kingsbury.