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Protecting The Ball A Plus For Cardinals, Josh Rosen

Quarterback Josh Rosen protected the ball against the Seahawks, not turning the ball over.
Quarterback Josh Rosen protected the ball against the Seahawks, not turning the ball over.

Josh Rosen didn’t lose the ball, and that was a big deal.

For all the good things the Cardinals’ rookie quarterback did during Sunday’s loss to Seattle, avoiding turnovers might have been near the top. He didn’t throw an interception, and not only did he not fumble, he actually made sure to corral a loose ball on a bad Mason Cole snap and throw it away to save potential lost yards.

“Very impressive,” coach Steve Wilks said Monday. “We talked about it in the team meeting. We had one sack and it was early. We did a great job protecting him, and he did a great job of protecting the football.”

Rosen, who wasn’t helped by receiver drops, garnered an 89.9 passing grade from Pro Football Focus, tied for third in the NFL. Many of his pinpoint throws were praised by analysts across the internet on Monday.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, one of Rosen’s fellow top-10 rookie QBs, did not have a turnover Sunday, but the Browns’ Baker Mayfield had four turnovers and the Bills’ Josh Allen had three. All four rookie quarterbacks lost their games.

“Excited about what we have in Josh,” Wilks said. “He gave us the spark we needed. We just couldn’t finish.”

ON PLAYCALLS, WILKS TAKES OWNERSHIP

Asked about his role in the offensive playcalling – specifically in the fourth quarter Sunday, when the Cardinals ran the ball late to set up a field-goal try – Wilks said during an appearance on the “Bickley and Marotta” show on 98.7, Arizona’s Sports Station that “everything goes through me.”

“So again, I take responsibility for anything (people) want to say offense or defense or even special teams,” Wilks said. “I have the opportunity to be able to veto or confirm anything. It’s on me.”

FITZ’S HAMSTRING AND ANDRE SMITH’S RETURN

Wilks said right tackle Andre Smith (elbow) is expected to return this week for the game against the 49ers, and if he does, he will move back into the starting lineup. John Wetzel has been starting in Smith’s place.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, however, is day-to-day with his lingering hamstring injury. Fitzgerald downplayed the issue – “Everybody is dealing with something,” he said – and Wilks sounded confident Fitzgerald will play against the 49ers. Fitzgerald has been listed as questionable the last two games, but has played.

“Larry is going to be ready to play,” Wilks said. “That’s just his personality. We’re going to be smart, take care of Larry and give him the treatment that he needs. He’s a veteran, he’s played a while, so I’m not so concerned with his performance in the game. If we can get him ready before the game, that’s encouraging.”

Wilks also said cornerback Bené Benwikere, just elevated into the starting lineup Sunday, is also day-to-day with a spine issue.

GLENNON TO REMAIN BACKUP

Wilks said Mike Glennon will remain Rosen’s backup at quarterback. That means Sam Bradford, made inactive Sunday, will remain the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

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