The last couple of Cardinals quarterbacks with staying power and the most success -- Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer -- arrived with hefty résumés and a certain cachet in the locker room. Leadership was natural. It's a little tougher with Josh Rosen, who is barely halfway through his rookie season, 21 years old, and still trying to prove himself as a leader at a position where he must be one.
"I think I'm getting a little bit more traction in what I'm allowed to do and what I'm allowed to say, and how I am holding certain people accountable and expecting them to hold me accountable," Rosen said during a "Cardinals Spotlight" interview. "So I think you kind of have to get that traction and get that mutual respect so that when something needs to be said, they fully trust I will say what needs to be said."
As with any player, tangible success on the field aids the message when dealing with teammates. Rosen has made some steps in that way. And getting through to all players doesn't exactly take the same path -- back in the day, Edgerrin James loved Matt Leinart, because of the way Leinart carried himself coming out of USC. It wasn't a knock on Warner, but in Leinart, Edge saw a guy he wanted as his leader. Not everyone was the same (and yes, James eventually understood Warner was the man to get the job done.)
"I think he's commanding the offense," coach Steve Wilks said. "The guys respect him. He has gotten to the point now to where – I don't really want to use the term 'calling guys out,' – but he has set the tone out there. He doesn't mind getting on guys when needed."
That's necessary from time to time. And as Rosen talked Wednesday about making sure his career path stayed on track despite ups and downs like constant pass-rush pressure on the field and win-loss struggles in the standings, his role as the "rock" of the team/offense is important to him.
"If you're that same guy every single day, (then) when you change a little bit one way or the other, and it's for a purpose, they'll be like, 'Whoa. He's a little bit different today,'" Rosen said.
And his teammates are on board.
"He's not one of those guys who's going stand by and let something be bad," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "This is his ballclub and it's going to be his ballclub for a very long time.
"It's best when your quarterback is your leader."