Josh Rosen is only a few starts into his NFL career, and Byron Leftwich is only one game into his time as Cardinals' offensive coordinator. But for GM Steve Keim, there is optimism for both heading into the second half of the season.
During his appearance on the "Doug and Wolf" show Friday morning on 98.7 Arizona's Sports Station, Keim is finding optimism that Rosen has been in the lineup for a number of weeks already.
"I think he's ahead," Keim said. "The one positive in all this is he is getting those game snaps right now, instead of having them delayed in his career. So he is going through the growth period right now. There are a number of things Josh can still work on, seeing the field and some of those different concepts, areas where he can improve. But to have the kind of poise and pocket presence he has, and some of the throws he has made, is outstanding.
"There are times, we all know, when he looks like a rookie out there. There are times you look at him and say, 'He's got a chance to be a heck of a player.' "
Getting that development goes directly to Leftwich -- especially with a defensive head coach in Steve Wilks. But not surprisingly, with the team at 2-6 and with Leftwich coming in through a midseason change, Keim wasn't declaring Leftwich Rosen's long-term mentor.
"We are in a constantly evolving stage right now," Keim said. "We are looking at every facet of this organization whether it is personnel or coaching. Those decisions have not been made yet. But at the same time, I am rooting like heck for Byron. He's a great guy, he's passionate, he's got a great feel for the game. He and Josh have developed a very good relationship. Being a young coach, just some of the things he has done so far have certainly excited us. We'll see what the next eight weeks brings."
-- Keim said the bye week is "a good time to reevaluate the roster." There are meetings with the scouts to go over the top college players in the country, with Keim coming up with a plan to go see some of them the back half of the year. On the pro side, the front office goes over ready lists, the top five available free agents at each position, as well as the top practice squad players that could be poached. The Cardinals have signed two offensive linemen from practice squads the past two weeks in Zack Golditch and Colby Gossett. Any signed practice-squad player from another team must stay on the active roster for at least three weeks.
-- Keim liked how the defense held up better against the run in the most recent game against the 49ers, and that the Cardinals "got the ball in 31's hands, which to me is extremely important to have success." That is, of course, a reference to running back David Johnson. There are multiple things the Cardinals need to get better at for Johnson to be productive -- blocking up front, and even Johnson's own decision-making -- but "more than anything, it's getting it in his hands."