NFL PLAYER NEWS

Rosen provides hope for winless Cardinals

The Sports Xchange

October 01, 2018 at 11:39 pm.

Sep 30, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium. Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 30, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium. Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals are the only winless team left in the NFL but first-year coach Steve Wilks sees some promise in his team following Sunday’s 20-17 loss at home to Seattle.

The reason for his optimism despite the 0-4 start comes from rookie quarterback Josh Rosen of UCLA.

“When you look at some of the bright spots of the game (against Seattle), you definitely have to look at (Josh) Rosen,” Wilks said Monday in a press conference. “I thought he gave us every opportunity to win that football game. Again, very poised, great leader.”

Rosen got his first start in the NFL on Sunday, and his stats were not overwhelming. He completed 15 of 27 for 180 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

The numbers tell only part of the story as Wilks believed Rosen provided the Cardinals some energy to their offense after sputtering with Sam Bradford behind center.

Five dropped passes Sunday also took away from more impressive numbers for Rosen.

“I keep going back to Josh, and how encouraged I am,” Wilks said. “You guys saw the potential of pushing the ball down the field, which we haven’t had in the first few weeks of the season. We’ve got to finish now.”

The Cardinals are hopeful two of Rosen’s teammates on offense — right tackle Andre Smith and receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be available when they play at the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Smith has been out with an elbow injury but is expected to return to the starting lineup this week. Fitzgerald has been limited with a hamstring injury.

Rosen also needs plenty of help from the running game, namely David Johnson.

Statistically, he had his best game of the season against Seattle, despite fumbling in the first quarter. He ran for 71 yards on 21 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run. He also had 41 yards receiving on three catches.

“I definitely got into a rhythm,” Johnson said. “That’s how I like to play as well. I like to start out and get into a rhythm as the game goes, see what the defense is doing, see what they are giving me as far as holes, running and seeing what our guys are doing upfront.”

Johnson, who missed all of last season with a leg injury, had a 21-yard run against Seattle as well as a 30-yard reception on a screen pass that set up a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“Phenomenal player,” Wilks said of Johnson. “Just makes things happen once he gets the ball in his hands. Just have to continue to move forward in that direction and really try to get our playmakers the ball.”

–RT Andre Smith (elbow) is expected to return this week for the game against the San Francisco 49ers. He will likely return to the starting lineup. John Wetzel has been starting in Smith’s place.

–WR Larry Fitzgerald is day-to-day with his lingering hamstring injury. “Everybody is dealing with something,” he said. Arizona coach Steve Wilks is confident Fitzgerald will play against the 49ers. Fitzgerald has been listed as questionable the last two games but has played.

–QB Mike Glennon will remain Josh Rosen’s backup at quarterback, Wilks indicated. That means Sam Bradford, who was inactive Sunday, will remain the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

–PK Phil Dawson missed two of his three field-goal attempts, including a 45-yarder with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, in Arizona’s 20-17 loss to Seattle on Sunday. Making that would have given the Cardinals a 20-17 lead. The Seahawks took over at their 35 after the miss and drove down to the Cardinals’ 34, where Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 52-yarder as time expired. Dawson also missed a 50-yarder on the last play of the first half that would have given the Cardinals a 13-7 advantage.

–CB Bene Benwikere took over the No. 2 cornerback spot in place of Jamar Taylor. Benwikere finished with four tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, but did miss a crucial tackle on Seahawks WR David Moore, who gained 30 yards on the play.