The Cardinals and Chiefs are at separate ends of the spectrum -- one team near the cellar of the standings and the other a Super Bowl contender.
Despite that disparity, both have reason to feel optimistic about the future. Sunday’s matchup will feature a pair of young gunslingers that could conceivably lead their franchises to success for years to come.
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has been the toast of the NFL this season, producing like an MVP at the tender age of 23. Josh Rosen has not been gaudy statistically but has shown the requisite tools for future achievement, and is two years younger than Mahomes.
“The opportunity to develop a young guy gives the team hope, right?” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “It’s just one of those things. That’s a great thing, and it’s no different than what we’re sitting with and some of these other teams with these young quarterbacks are sitting with.”
The 2017 draft produced three quarterbacks in the first round, and the early returns are good, as Mahomes’ Chiefs, Deshaun Watson’s Texans and Mitchell Trubisky’s Bears all lead their division.
Rosen was one of five quarterbacks taken in the first round of this year’s draft -- along with Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, the Jets’ Sam Darnold, Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson – and all except Jackson are starters.
Mahomes had the luxury of sitting behind veteran Alex Smith as a rookie last season, but Reid is confident he could have succeeded immediately. He believes quarterbacks are entering the NFL more prepared.
“It’s not like they’re running the wishbone or something (in college),” Reid said. “They can actually get in, and they know the Cover 2 and the (Cover) 4 and what all these things are. They’ve seen the blitz here and there. … College football’s in a different place. High school football’s in a different place.”
Rosen was an Eagles fan growing up, and his affection for Reid was obvious as he spoke to the media on Wednesday. Reid led Philadelphia to nine playoff appearances and a Super Bowl in his 14 years as coach. Rosen said he used to own an Eagles shirt that said ‘Our coach will eat yours’ in honor of Reid and watched every game he could.
“My mom, we didn’t really have TiVo, so she would have a video recorder and record the TV screen,” Rosen said. “I was at a Pop Warner practice, and I came back. It was the Redskins game (in 2010) and she showed me. She was like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a surprise for you on the first play.’ It was the naked boot when (Michael Vick) bombed it, like, 80 yards to DeSean Jackson. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
Rosen has some familiarity with Mahomes, as they were roommates while counseling together at the Manning Academy in 2016. As a naturally competitive person, Rosen said he would like to play well against Reid and Mahomes, but his top priority is focused inward.
“We’re really trying to get this ball rolling,” Rosen said. “We ended on a pretty good note at the bye. We’re basically just trying to keep chugging along.”
BOSTON RETURNS TO PRACTICE
Safety Tre Boston (chest) returned to practice on Wednesday in a limited capacity and seems on track to play Sunday after missing the past two games. Defensive tackle Corey Peters (ankle), guard Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring), tight end Jermaine Gresham (back), guard Mike Iupati (back), guard Justin Pugh (hand) and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (calf) were also limtied.
Wide receivers Chad Williams (ankle) and Larry Fitzgerald (not injury-related) did not practice.
For the Chiefs, wide receiver Sammy Watkins (foot), safety Eric Berry (heel), guard Cam Erving (illness), linebacker Anthony Hitchens (rib) and center Mitch Morse (concussion) did not practice. Linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring), safety Daniel Sorenson (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (hamstring) were limited.
CARDINALS ADD RECEIVER TO PRACTICE SQUAD
The Cardinals signed wide receiver Montay Crockett to the practice squad. The 2017 undrafted free agent out of Georgia Southern spent last season with the Jaguars and was cut by Jacksonville at the end of the preseason.
Offensive lineman Kyle Friend was released to make room.
The Cardinals get on the practice field Wednesday before the road trip to Kansas City.