This year Steve Keim has elected to wait until Fridays to disclose his thoughts (to Doug and Wolf on (Arizona Sports 98.7) on the previous game with an eye on the game ahead.
Personally, I liked hearing from Keim on Mondays—-it feels like a long 5 days to wait for the GM’s post-game comments—-but, it is better than nothing.
The first thing that Steve Keim said that stood out to me was his assessment of Josh Rosen’s performance in the 20-17 home loss to the Seahawks:
“He (Rosen) just looked different out there. The way he controlled the game, the command of the huddle, watching him throw the football. Again, the mechanics. There are some things he does mechanically that reminds me of Carson (Palmer).”
All indications have been that Rosen has looked this way in practice from day one. It makes me wonder whether Keim and Wilks elected not to play Rosen in weeks 3 and 4 of the pre-season out of fear that he would already look “different” from Sam Bradford in a way that would have had the fans clamoring for Josh to start.
Giving Josh Rosen the “kid glove” treatment still sticks in my craw—-bursting onto the brightest national tennis and football stages at such a young age might strongly suggest that he has never needed kid gloves in his life.
Keim went on to say about Rosen:
“… On tape, you can see him look off the safety and come back to that route. And the way he drove that ball in with the velocity and the zip that he threw that football with, I mean, just something like that to me is what stands out.”
I love it when Keim describes players—-that is a skill that he has embraced and perfected.
We know that Steve Keim likes to compare his top players and draft picks to other players—-and in this broadcast Keim spent a good deal of time comparing Josh Rosen to Carson Palmer—-but—-in my opinion, even though we have only seen Josh Rosen start one game, Rosen showed some skills versus the Seahawks that appear different from Palmer’s.
The first thing that jumps out is Rosen’s footwork and his mobility.
Secondly, in terms of throwing motion/release, Rosen’s is tighter, smoother and quicker.
Thirdly, as Steve Keim pointed out so aptly, Rosen went through his progressions like a 10 year pro. We haven’t seen that kind of poise and field scanning under pressure since Kurt Warner. Now—-as we know—-Palmer was often given minimum protection. The protections for Rosen were more elaborate, thank goodness. Still—-it takes footwork, vision, poise and a feel for where the pressure is coming from—-all of which Josh Rosen displayed with stunning aplomb.
Fourthly—-not since Kurt Warner have I seen a Cardinals’ QB pull the string on some passes that he might normally rifle—-this was Rosen’s way of adjusting to the fact that his receivers aren’t quite used to the ball getting to them that quickly and with such zip.
As for Mike McCoy and his 32nd ranked offense, here is what Keim had to say:
“I think it (the offense) takes a little bit of time for cohesiveness, and that’s certainly not an excuse that you ever want to use. Again, I know that our fans are well-educated in the game of football. I never want to come on here and mislead anybody or use the type of verbiage that really doesn’t accurately point to what I think … Whether it’s play-calling or clock management or it’s things that we can do in terms of mismatches or being creative in terms of the offense, those are conversations, again, we’re having every day.
“I have faith,” Keim added. “I know Mike McCoy has done it before and he’s done it with multiple quarterbacks, guys that were great ones and guys that weren’t so great that he’s had success with. I think it’s just going to get better and better, and I think that we’ve seen that the last two weeks.”
Keim mentions the fans (and it is great to hear him speak of the fans with respect) because he knows that many of the fans want an immediate change at OC. And based on Keim’s initial remarks, he understands our concerns, yet, at least for now, remains steadfast in his belief in McCoy.
Dan Bickley just wrote an article about how the pressure is on for Wilks and McCoy to build momentum and measured progress around Josh Rosen. Bickley, who admits that he championed for McCoy when the Cardinals were interviewing OC candidates, rightfully senses that McCoy needs to start earning the confidence of the players and fans or he could be let go in the middle of a season for a second year in a row.
I think we are all curious to see whether McCoy, now with Rosen behind center, can start to maximize the team’s playmaking talents, starting with RB David Johnson, who thus far has been more miss than hit within the offense. Of course, much depends on the continued development of the offensive line under the tutelage of Ray Brown, and the sorely needed improvement of the team’s cadre of receivers.
Thus far this year, the NFL this year is seeing record numbers of touchdowns. Where teams used to scorn college offenses, they now are embracing the wide open, creative, razzle-dazzle offensive aerial shows that have made college football such a spectacular spectator sport.
The question of the day for Cardinals’ fans is—-can Mike McCoy, through a collectively creative effort with his rookie QB Josh Rosen, take the Cardinals’ current offense into the 21st century?