Josh Rosen does not blindly accept media-driven narratives.
The rookie quarterback, for instance, doesn’t think four wins in the past five seasons at CenturyLink Field will be of any help in the Cardinals’ road matchup against the Seahawks on Sunday.
“Streaks are only streaks until they’re not,” Rosen said.
The rookie wall, though? That’s the real deal.
“Oh, yeah,” Rosen said. “I slammed right into it in Atlanta.”
It’s been nearly a non-stop football trek for Rosen and all NFL rookies dating back to last fall, when they played their final college season. They followed that up with training for the NFL draft before immediately jumping into professional life with their new team.
Rosen has struggled the past two games, completing 25-of-45 passes for 219 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in blowout losses to the Falcons and Rams – statistical proof for Rosen’s wall belief.
Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is doing everything he can to help Rosen clear the wall. After going through it himself as a first-year quarterback in 2003, he knows it’s not easy.
“In my head I was trying to deny it and be a tough guy, but it comes for them all,” Leftwich said. “It comes for every rookie, especially the guys playing quarterback. We ask these guys to do a tough job, and it wears on you. But this is a great learning experience.”
Rosen said the all-consuming nature of the NFL is an adjustment. He plans to watch a friend play in the Australian Open next month to help decompress.
“When you’re going through school, you kind of get mental breaks,” Rosen said. “You go to football, go to class, hang out with your friends, do this, that. You’re always studying and doing football, but there are mental breaks. With this, it’s just football all the way through, all day, every day. Your brain’s getting choked out and you start to tap a little bit.”
Rosen said he’s learned how to handle the recent rigors and feels like he is “back on the horse and ready to bring it home” in the regular season finale. After that, he will cherish the one true antidote for the rookie wall.
“Time,” Rosen said. “It’s like breaking up with a girlfriend.”
GETTING CHANDLER JONES BACK ON TRACK
Defensive end Chandler Jones hasn’t notched a sack since the Cardinals’ Week 13 win in Green Bay. He still has an impressive 12 on the season, but defensive coordinator Al Holcomb said offenses have been intent on slowing Jones down the past six weeks.
“People are turning the protection to him, paying a little bit more attention to him,” Holcomb said. “He’s getting chipped as well. I think it’s just a matter of emphasis for the opponent. ‘Fifty-five’ is a guy on the radar. ‘Fifty-five’ is a guy who can wreck a football game.”
Jones has 8½ sacks in his career against the Seahawks, the most against a single opponent. Holcomb hopes to scheme ways to get Jones matched up one-on-one.
“Then the plays will start to happen again for him,” Holcomb said.
GOLDEN, MAYOWA, SEALS-JONES DON'T PRACTICE
Defensive end Markus Golden (ankle), tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (shoulder) and defensive end Benson Mayowa (back/neck) missed practice for a second straight day. Safety Budda Baker (knee) and tight end Darrell Daniels (illness) were limited.
For the Seahawks, guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), defensive Dion Jordan (knee), safety Bradley McDougald (knee), guard J.R. Sweezy (foot), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (foot) and safety Tedric Thompson (ankle) did not practice. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin (shoulder) was limited.
Images of past matchups between the Seahawks and Cardinals