Seahawks prepare to face Cardinals rookie QB Josh Rosen
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Seattle coach Pete Carroll says there’s some mystery surrounding Arizona quarterback Josh Rosen as the favored Seahawks face the Cardinals on Sunday.
Rosen didn’t play much in the preseason and was in on 11 snaps late in his NFL debut in last Sunday’s loss to Chicago.
“We’ll have to wait and see, so we’ll be ready to adjust,” Carroll said. “With so many young quarterbacks that have just had startling entries into the league and done so many things, we’re going to count on Josh (Rosen) being on it and whipping the ball around like he can.”
That would be a change for a somnambulant Arizona offense that ranks dead last in the NFL in pretty much every category. The team has three touchdowns in three games as it looks to avoid its first 0-4 start since 1986, two years before the franchise moved from St. Louis. There have been many bad teams since then, but they all managed to win an early game.
The Seahawks (1-2), meanwhile, are 4-0-1 in their last five visits to the desert. But Seattle has had some rough times in newly renamed State Farm Stadium, including that infamous goal-line interception in the Super Bowl, and a bizarre 6-6 tie with the Cardinals.
They aren’t the old “Legion of Boom” defense, but they are still a formidable obstacle for the Arizona rookie.
“For the most part, I’m just trying to complete balls to the receivers, get the ball moving down the field, maybe extend plays a little bit, use my brain,” Rosen said. “I think I’m a pretty good overall quarterback, and I’m looking forward to getting on the field.”
The Seahawks rolled on the ground in last week’s win over Dallas, but the Cardinals expect to have to deal with the ducking, darting and passing of Russell Wilson, too.
Here are some things to consider when the Seahawks face the Cardinals:
After saying for the entire offseason they were going to prioritize the run game, it took until Week 3 for the Seahawks to actually show it.
The result was 102 yards rushing and a touchdown from Chris Carson and the kind of offensive efficiency the Seahawks were hoping to find. Carson was the first Seattle running back to top 100 yards since late in the 2016 season, but it was also the performance of the Seahawks’ revamped offensive line that allowed it to happen. D.J. Fluker played his first game after missing the first couple of weeks due to a hamstring injury. J.R. Sweezy moved to left guard for the first time in his career. And that will likely be the alignment again this week, except with starting center Justin Britt expected to return after playing only a few snaps on special teams last week due to a shoulder injury.
The Cardinals haven’t gotten the dynamic big plays they have expected from running back David Johnson, an All-Pro two years ago when he led the league in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns. Johnson was off the field during a critical third-and-2 situation late in the loss to Chicago. He told reporters he was yanked after messing up a blitz pickup the previous play. The coaches wouldn’t talk about it after Johnson’s comments.
As for Johnson’s situation, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said “any time you have a player like him you’re trying to get him the ball. … I understand the type of player he is and how we’re going to use him moving forward. ”
Rosen would be the 19th quarterback to complete a pass to Larry Fitzgerald in the wide receiver’s remarkable career. Fitzgerald has high hopes for the youngster.
“There’s no reason for him to be uncomfortable,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s got all the ability. He’s extremely intelligent. He’s prepared by a wonderful quarterback coach in Byron Leftwich. We’ve got to go out there and make plays for him.”
Jaron Brown hadn’t really thought about seeing his old team until Carroll called him in for a meeting early in the week.
“He just talked to me, kind of what to expect and really to control your emotions and stay in the game, and gave me some pointers with that,” Brown said. “Obviously, this will be my first time being put in this position. It was kind of good to hear that.”
Brown spent his first five seasons with the Cardinals before signing with Seattle in the offseason. His opportunities have been limited so far — just nine targets — but he caught his first touchdown pass last week against the Cowboys.
Seattle’s air game could get a big boost this week if Doug Baldwin is able to return from a sprained knee suffered in the opener.
Bradley McDougald and Earl Thomas have been two of the top safeties in the league through three weeks.
Thomas, despite the turmoil surrounding his unhappiness about his contract and desire to be traded, is tied for the league lead with three interceptions, two coming last week against Dallas. McDougald has two interceptions, four passes defensed and 17 tackles.
Seattle has already forced eight takeaways, tied for second in the league.