NFL quarterbacks have sufficient motivation to get rid of the ball quickly in games, because 300-pound defensive linemen with bad intentions are constantly barreling down at them.
In practice, there is no such threat, as the rushers always let up lest they injure the precious commodities. Even so, the Cardinals quarterbacks know how important it is to drop back with urgency during offseason work, as the ability to make correct split-second decisions in the pocket is one of the most important aspects of the job.
“It’s all about building your internal clock,” rookie quarterback Josh Rosen said. “You can’t hold on to the ball too much. You can’t have a completion and applaud yourself even though you saw three defensive linemen run by you. You have to play it realistically and get the ball out of your hands as quickly as possible, because your best protection is a quick throw. I’m trying to do my offensive line as many favors as I can and get the ball out quick.”
Under Bruce Arians, the Cardinals were built on long dropbacks and deep passes. While offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s system isn’t fully fleshed out, it seems likely that more quick-hitting action will be built in.
Coach Steve Wilks said quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich does a great job emphasizing the importance of decisiveness, and a play by Rosen at Wednesday’s minicamp was a good example that he’s grasping the instruction.
“Josh really felt the pressure in the pocket starting to collapse, did a great job stepping up, keeping his eyes down the field and making a completed ball,” Wilks said. “You can see his athleticism, but most importantly, his focus not to be a runner first and still have his attention down the field, trying to execute the pass.”
GOLDEN REMAINS UPBEAT DURING REHAB
Arizona’s sweltering summer heat makes it tough enough on the players who are practicing. It seems even more miserable for those rehabilitating injuries.
Markus Golden is among the group working on the side as he recovers from a torn ACL and does a lot of running as his teammates get to play football. But ever the optimist, the fourth-year defensive end isn’t feeling sorry for himself.
“I wouldn’t say it’s hard,” Golden said. “I’m just ready to get back out there, so I’m grinding every day. I’m feeling good. I’m not hurting. My leg’s getting stronger. So I can’t complain.”
Golden, who was injured eight-and-a-half months ago, is unsure of a timetable to return to the field.
“If I can get back and feel healthy by preseason, that would be good,” Golden said. “If not, then of course I want to be ready by the time the season starts. I’m just going to keep grinding, no matter what.”
LARRY FITZGERALD A HOMETOWN HISTORIAN
Larry Fitzgerald is excited about the progress being made by fellow wide receiver Christian Kirk, who has shown a nice level of polish for a rookie. Fitzgerald has a good barometer from which to work because he has followed Kirk’s career since he starred at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.
Fitzgerald said he makes it a habit to keep up to date on the prep stars in Arizona.
“I’m always a fan of kids that come from my city,” Fitzgerald said. “I watched him. I watched D.J. (Foster) when they were playing. I kind of bounce around on Friday nights to different games. I like to see them. I saw (basketball stars) DeAndre Ayton when he was here, (Marvin) Bagley. I like to support the local kids. To see what he was able to accomplish at Texas A&M and now being a second-round draft pick for his hometown team, that’s the stuff of legend. That’s what you always dream about, and he’s getting to live his dream. I want him to be as successful as he aspires to be.”
Tennyson Erickson's #MyWish episode with the team to be featured on ESPN later this summer