The Cardinals inaugurated the Steve Wilks era with an entertaining, albeit characteristically sloppy (for 1st pre-season games), 24-17 win over the LA Chargers.
I must admit—-living on the East coast—-I haven’t seem 2 AM on my alarm clock for years (unless I forget to take my FloMax)—-but I stayed up for this one. It was well worth it.
Here are some thoughts about the QB room:
- Sam Bradford played with superb composure. He only threw two quick passes and both were on the money. His TD drive on the Cardinals’ 1st possession was an auspicious start and a nice reward for all the hard work Sam, the coaches and trainers have put in to make this happen. It’s a credit to Bradford himself that he wants to play in the pre-season—-he is completely dialed in.
- Josh Rosen is one heck of an athlete. He was scooping up dribbled snaps like Derek Jeter and immediately turning his focus downfield amidst a swirl of chaos. We have seen many Cardinals’ QBs in the past who were all thumbs trying to pick up errant snaps. Rosen never panicked.
- I thought Rosen bought some time well under consistent duress and while some of his throws were flat-footed, they were accurate, save the near pick six. Rosen passes with such relative ease.
- Wolf and Pasch kept preaching that Rosen needed to get the ball out quickly—-but, the Cardinals’ WRs weren’t getting quick separation. Rosen saw this and, like Kurt Warner, tried to wait the extra second to find that open window. He should be commended for that.
- Steve Wilks indicated in the post-game presser that Rosen would get some time with the 1st team this pre-season. We should have a stronger sense of where Rosen is when that happens.
- What I would like to see most from Josh, is a more outward presence on the field. I noticed at UCLA how pensive and inward Josh often looks. I think he got that from his tennis days—-and it works for tennis, but football is a team sports and the best QBs turn their focus outward in an effort to makes sure everyone is fired up and on the same page. This is what makes quarterbacking fun. Right now Josh’s head must be spinning—-but—-as a long-term goal—-we will know Josh is having fun when he can turn his focus outward.
- What I would do is have Josh take a close look at game tapes of Tony Romo. While I get some of the comparisons that Josh is getting to other notable QBs, I think he might compare most favorably to Romo. They are similar athletes (good, but not elite) and are gritty competitors who thrive at throwing from a set of different arm angles, depending on the situation. I would love to see Josh become the kind of outward player Romo became and play with that kind of infectious energy and bounce.
- While on the theme of outward leadership, last night perhaps the most impressive display of this came from Charles Kanoff who did an outstanding job of communicating the play calls and assignments to his teammates. Kanoff played outside of himself. He did not look the least bit nervous. He dropped a pure dime on the 57 yard bomb to fellow small school rookie Jaylen Tolliver and then Kanoff pulled off the best play action completion of the night on the nifty game winning TD to TE Bryce Williams.
- We saw last night why I have been promoting a trade for Mike Glennon. There is a much better situation for Glennon elsewhere—-and a better offensive system to fit his talents. I believe he is talented enough to at least challenge for a starting job. Once the Cardinals pulled Josh Rosen out of the hat on draft night, Glennon’s chances to compete for a starting job were over, right then and there. Kudos to Wilks and his staff for immediately establishing Rosen as the #2 QB on the depth chart and not stringing Glennon, Rosen, the team or the fans along.
- Last night’s lackluster play from Glennon certainly didn’t help his trade stock, but seeing as the Cardinals have already paid Glennon his $4M signing bonus, the team that trades for him will get him for 2 years at an average of $2M a year. That, my friends, is a bargain, especially as a #2 QB who could compete for a starting job in one of the NFL’s weaker QB rooms. In particular, I think that a return to Tampa Bay this year would be great for Mike Glennon and the Bucs.
- QB Play of the Night:
- This is the same shotgun (RB to left) RPO (run pass option) TE seam pass that we highlighted this week from Josh Rosen to Ricky Seals-Jones—-only a quicker, shorter version thanks to Kanoff’s quick strike in the red zone.
- Kanoff sells the fake to RB Sherman Badie, LT Will Holden puts a good stick on the DE (key block), the G-C-G trio sell the run and form a good wall, TE Bryce Williams releases up the seam and Kanoff puts the ball up high where only Williams can get it, just before the FS can get to the passing lane. On a scale of 1-10, I would give the execution of that play a 10. All this from third stringers who are 3 points behind in the 4th quarter.
- What Kanoff knows pre-snap is that the Chargers, as many teams do in their goaline defense, are loading up for the run and playing zone coverage behind. Kanoff knows that if he can freeze the FS on the play action, the seam should be open.
- Closely watch Kanoff’s head—-just as he pulls the ball back from RB Sherman Badie, Kanoff does a quick check on the FS, sees that FS is still up the middle and then Kanoff turns his shoulders and throws a perfect strike to Williams.
- I read some fans saying this morning that no one should worry about Charles Kanoff being claimed off waivers. To that I feel compelled to say that any team that plays a style of offense similar to the Patriots’, as Mike McCoy is doing here in Arizona, is going to covet having a backup QB as smart and accurate as Charles Kanoff. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Patriots claimed him. They currently are not enamored with any of their backups.
- Kanoff fits McCoy’s system better than Glennon and that’s why the Cardinals should keep him and have 4 years to develop him along side of Josh Rosen. It was interesting to hear last night from Wolf and Pasch (Happy Birthday, Pasch) that the Cardinals were thinking of drafting Kanoff with one of their Day 3 picks. Particularly this week in practice and in the 1st pre-season game, we saw the reasons why Byron Leftwich came back to Arizona from his trip Princeton, New Jersey very excited about what he discovered in QB Charles “Chad” Kanoff.