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Jared Goff Illuminates Path For Josh Rosen

Rookie year not always indicative of future success

QB Josh Rosen (right) and Rams QB Jared Goff before the teams' Week 2 matchup in Los Angeles
QB Josh Rosen (right) and Rams QB Jared Goff before the teams' Week 2 matchup in Los Angeles

The rookie quarterback gathered himself and raised slowly from the turf, the victim of another big hit amid another blowout loss.

It was a well-worn image on Sunday, as Cardinals first-round pick Josh Rosen dealt with a rocky performance on the road against the Falcons. But it was also a familiar scene on New Year's Day of 2017, when the Cardinals went to Los Angeles for their regular season finale and pummeled Jared Goff.

The 44-6 loss wrapped up an 0-7 debut campaign for the Rams quarterback, and invited an offseason of hand-wringing about the No. 1 overall pick's future in the NFL.

Goff, of course, turned out just fine. Despite a recent skid, the signal-caller has gone 22-7 over the past two seasons with 8,077 passing yards, 55 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 99.

Now that Goff has found his professional footing, he doled out some advice to Rosen during his Wednesday press conference in Los Angeles.

"Every experience – positive, negative and in between – will be valuable for you in the future," Goff said. "That's something that I tried to take away when I was going through a similar situation. And just understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

The Rams (11-3) have lost two in a row heading into Sunday's contest against the Cardinals but are heavy favorites because there is a great disparity between the two passing games.

Goff was named to the Pro Bowl, while Rosen sits with the lowest yards-per-attempt average in the NFL (6.1) and the second-lowest quarterback rating (66.3), ahead of only fellow rookie Josh Allen.

Plenty of quarterbacks have struggled as rookies and eventually flamed out of the NFL. However, myriad others have experienced a second-year turnaround like Goff. Peyton Manning led the league in interceptions as rookie with 28, while Troy Aikman, Andrew Luck and Carson Wentz were among those who also took time to evolve.

Rosen is hoping his current trials will help him follow that path.

"I think mistakes are valuable," Rosen said. "You want to minimize them, but more importantly, you don't want to make them twice. I've made plenty of them this year, and hopefully I'm for the most part not making the same mistakes twice, just finding new ones to make."

Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters had a close view of Goff's early struggles, and he has noticed the subsequent growth. He believes Rosen can take the same trajectory.

"Year One can kind of be a drinking-out-of-the-fire-hydrant kind of thing," Peters said. "You're trying to take on a lot. It's a big jump, a long season. You're going from college to training for the combine to OTAs. It's very draining, and it's tough on everybody. I couldn't imagine being a quarterback and trying to step in the there and do things so quickly."

Rosen is doing his best. He knows that star Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald will be lurking on Sunday, and that his reads must be decisive. While it may not have been readily apparent in Atlanta, Rosen feels like there has been progress in that regard.

Will he join Goff and the others who shook off a bad rookie season and went on to stardom? That's to be determined. With two games left, Rosen hopes to end the year headed in the right direction.

"When you can have less arguments with yourself in your head about what you think it is, that's when you start to play a little faster," Rosen said.

Are those internal conversations dwindling?

"More and more," Rosen said.

Rookie Season Comparisons

Table inside Article
QB Year G Comp Att Cmp% TD INT Rate
Jared Goff 2016 7 112 205 54.6 5 7 63.6
Josh Rosen 2018 11 187 336 55.7 10 14 66.3