Around this time last year it was reported that a number of teams had taken Josh Rosen off their draft board. I completely agreed. I predicted Josh Rosen would:
- Get his coach fired
- Get traded before his rookie contract ran out
- Bust (I rarely call anyone a bust before they play in the NFL)
With news that he will likely be sent to the Washington franchise, I would like to double down. If traded to Washington, Josh Rosen will also get a 2nd coach fired and Josh Rosen will get traded TWICE before his rookie deal runs out. There are a myriad of reasons for this.
Let’s start with the reasons that your team thinks this is a good idea. His ideal mechanics are as pure as alpine snow. His ability to read a defense is stellar. He has great in pocket footwork and mobility. If a play is bound to work, he will not screw it up. Sounds great. However, I regularly harp on two QB traits that many do not call attention to. I believe they are success predictors. Rosen struggles mightily with both of them.
The first is adaptable mechanics. While Rosen is as pristine as it gets when it comes to his ideal mechanics, Rosen fades fast when he is forced to use his adaptable mechanics. He can sit in a clean pocket and get the ball to the place it is supposed to go on a very high level. If Rosen played versus air, he’d be a sure-fire HOF QB. Unfortunately, when Rosen is pushed off platform you see that he doesn’t have a great arm. His ideal mechanics fully maximize the power he has. When he can’t rely on that, his arm falls far below average because he is a modest athlete. His accuracy also falls apart. His perfectly repeatable ideal mechanics make him an accurate passer. If he is on the move, has to throw off his back-foot or flat-footed, not only does his velocity drop dramatically but the accuracy goes with it. He will sail and spike passes regularly. These feast and famine results limit him as a play-maker and creator. They limit his ability to make something out of nothing.
So he can be a great game manager QB, right? There is more.
The second aspect is ball placement instinct. WRs in college get clean separation more often than in the NFL. This is common knowledge. Ball placement instinct is how you can operate in those moments where you lack clean separation. Can you place a ball over the boundary shoulder to where your WR has leverage? Will you throw the ball at a WRs ankles when they have a man on their back? Will you lead your WR away from coverage? Can you put a high point ball over the shoulder of a LB? How about a feel for when to throw the back-shoulder throw versus when you should drop the ball in the bucket or behind the back of a defender? This is ball placement instinct. It is an instinct trait. You cannot learn this. When you watch Rosen on film, he proves to be a robot. Aside from a back-shoulder throw here and there Rosen does not do this. His ball is thrown perfectly where it is supposed to go, but not where the pass NEEDS to go. Perfectly where it is supposed to go is at times directly at a defender and often in a place where a defender can make a play on the ball. Not only will he fail to create when he is asked to move off platform, but you are going to need a stable of WRs who regularly get high level separation in the NFL because he cannot throw them open.
So he’s a good game manager QB, right? Sorry, there is more.
This year, I have a long list of concerns about Dwayne Haskins. I believe selecting him is a leap of faith. That is different from burying someone’s career before it starts. I did that with Rosen and the reason why is very blunt. Josh Rosen is a coward on the field.
I can’t say it better than it’s been said before. I grew up in the Green Bay area as a Packer fan. 7 years ago, they played Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. After the game Charles Woodson was interviewed about the game and his take was, “It’s the same ole Jay, we don’t need luck, we just need to be in position and Jay will throw us the ball.” This will be the narrative of Josh Rosen as well. The meaning behind this, if you pressure Jay Cutler he will throw the ball to the defense. Blitz him, torment him and he will give you the game.
This is a list of the 14 interceptions Josh Rosen threw last year.
1 decaying pocket, left the ball inside the WR throwing it directly to the DB
2 stare down, S jumped it (give credit to the S)
3 blitz look batted at line, LB in position in front of the intended TE for the int if it wasn’t batted
4 blitz pressure, thrown right to a DB
5 stunt pressure, overthrown to a DB
6 stunt pressure, forced into traffic
7 screen, thrown to DL
8 decaying pocket, air mailed to DB
9 blitz pressure, errant throw to DB
10 no pressure, DPI not called (not Rosen’s fault)
11 lots of time, out-flag combo, neither is open so he throws a comeback ball to the flag straight to the man covering the out.
12 decaying pocket, throws an out in front of Slay (credit half and half)
13 blitz pressure, errant throw tipped up to closing LB (blame Rosen for ball placement, the outlet for batting it up, credit to LB after all it’s Deion Jones)
14 decaying pocket, throw to the curl flat defender sitting under Fitzgerald
Watch for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozf0kdFvy5I
This isn’t a new development. In his “amazing” comeback to beat Texas A&M, Josh Rosen throws 3 passes that were begging to get intercepted, and an additional 2 that should have been intercepted in the comeback. Common theme, pressure. Even on the last drive down 6, pressure made him duck and throw a ball directly into the line. It was tipped multiple times before falling harmlessly to the ground. Two weeks later, Rosen costs UCLA the game vs Memphis when they send a corner blitz off the slot and he tosses a ball straight to a CB sitting in zone. This is after throwing a ghastly pick 6 rolling to his right and trying to throw across his body. These examples go on and on.
What you have here is the physical embodiment of Sam Bradford, with the panicked mentality of Jay Cutler. Bradford’s talent, Cutler’s quit. He would rather throw a ball into harm’s way than take a hit. He will absolutely shred the teams that your team would beat with any quality backup QB. He will bury you when your team is overmatched. When the NFL defenses realize what they are dealing with, he will throw away games that you should win because they will attack him. There are plenty of excuses floating around about Rosen. His OL was actually terrible. He also was a shrinking violet who starred at his OL causing him to be late on his reads. Arizona’s offensive scheme was actually terrible. However, 10 of his interceptions were inexcusable decisions on his part. These were the same inexcusable decisions he made at UCLA.
If Rosen is sent to Washington, all they need to do to succeed is have a healthy year from Trent Williams, a big year from Morgan Moses or an upgrade, a huge upgrade at LG, probably going to want to take Garrett Bradbury at 15, Jordan Reed needs to stay healthy, acquire an Odell Beckham Jr. or an Antonio Brown level #1, and a Jarvis Landry for the slot. Then, and only then, Josh Rosen will lead your offense to where you want to go. When you are on the verge of the playoffs or in the playoffs, and push comes to shove, he will get pressured and make an inexplicably bad throw that rips your heart out.
How does that sound Washington?Is this the QB you want? Kingsbury doesn’t. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is dead from the jump if he sticks with Rosen. KK knows that. He knows he needs Murray. If this is actually the QB you want, feel free to fire Jay Gruden now and save him the trouble. When you draft Tua or Herbert next year, Rosen will get traded again, for less than you gave up, and will have nothing left to do but go down as a bust.