Josh Rosen is excited to visit Lambeau Field for the first time Sunday. The history that lives there, that kind of stuff resonates with the Cardinals’ rookie quarterback. He’ll get to play against mentor/friend Aaron Rodgers. And if he were to score a touchdown, maybe he’d even try his own Lambeau Leap.
“I don’t think so,” Rosen said with a smile. “I’d need Aaron’s graces in a press conference before. Like, ‘Hey guys. There’s one dude on the other team that’s allowed to do this.’ I’m just going to find the only Cardinals fan somewhere, and be like, ‘Got you!’”
Sure, the chances of Rosen scoring himself are thin. He’d rather hand it off to David Johnson, or throw for six to a receiver. The Cardinals, frankly, will take points wherever they might get it. Their offensive statistics, in a season during which offensive numbers are crazy prolific, are not great. They scored 10 points in their first two possessions last week but could not score any more. They ran but three plays in the third quarter. And all of that was in the perfect weather of Los Angeles.
This week, Rosen and company will get the mid-30s. They’ll get wind and a mix of rain and snow. Mostly, they have said all the right things about such conditions.
“It’s football,” said defensive end Chandler Jones, who was in plenty of cold games while playing in New England. “You’re in the NFL and you’re playing football. Put on some long sleeves.”
I mean, Johnson grew up in Iowa and played there in college. By his recollection, he’s played in sleet, 20-degree weather, wind chill that has pushed the temperature into the negative column. The running back is familiar of what it could be like. So it won’t bother him. Right?
“Cold is cold,” Johnson acknowledged. “No matter what.”
-- Johnson shouldn’t have a hard time getting heated. He’s going to have to be used early and often. For one, lots of Johnson carries means keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field. The Packers’ offense is up and down, mostly because of a young receiving corps, but A-Rod is still A-Rod.
-- But as even Johnson notes, the Cardinals’ offense needs to get some momentum, “especially with the O-line getting hurt.” As it stands, the Cardinals will have a rookie at center (Mason Cole), Oday Aboushi back at right guard and rookie Korey Cunningham at one of the tackles. Maybe D.J. Humphries is able to return at left tackle. If not, Cunningham has to fill in for him again, leaving either Will Holden or Zack Golditch as the right tackle. Not ideal on the road. At Lambeau.
-- Jones, with 11 sacks this season, would seem to be a key in getting after Rodgers and causing some problems. But Jones admitted he has to be “aggressive but not too aggressive” rushing the Packers QB, because Rodgers probably does worse damage on an off-schedule play than anything else.
-- Here’s a quick break for you to watch this flashback. I’m sure you recall January of 2016. Fitz could’ve taken a leap himself at the end:
-- Speaking of January of 2016, if you told the Cardinals right now Rodgers would be trying a Hail Mary at the end Sunday, they’d take it.
-- The spotlight will be on Robert Nkemdiche this week to see if he can follow up his best game with another good game. Speaking of the defensive line, Rodney Gunter – who probably not coincidentally will be a free agent after the season – is having a pretty solid year.
-- No Josh Bynes. No Deone Bucannon. A banged-up Hasson Reddick. That’s a lot of linebacker concerns at a position where production has been inconsistent anyway.
-- There was a lot of speculation about the comings and goings of quarterback Charles Kanoff last week, after Kanoff was unexpectedly signed to the active roster on Saturday before the Chargers game. The explanation was simple: Backup quarterback Mike Glennon’s wife was expecting and there was a chance the baby could be born on the weekend – meaning Glennon could miss the game. Kanoff was promoted in case. Turned out Glennon was able to be active for the game, Kanoff remained inactive, and returned to the practice squad Friday.
-- Analytics? Byron Leftwich is focused on oversized appendages. A couple weeks ago the offensive coordinator was noting the large cranium of wide receiver Christian Kirk. This week, it’s the big hands of Rosen, in terms of the weather potential.
“This is a big-handed kid, so I’m not worried about it a lot,” Leftwich said. “He should be able to handle anything as far as weather goes.”
See you Sunday.