Normally, a 0-3 team doesn't generate much buzz in the NFL. It's happening this week in Arizona, however, now that the winless Cardinals have named rookie Josh Rosen as their starting quarterback.
Rosen made his NFL debut with 4:31 left to play in last week's 16-14 loss to the visiting Chicago Bears, and although he couldn't help lead the Cardinals to a come-from-behind win, he'll get a clean slate when he makes his first start this Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium.
"Same mindset every week," Rosen said. "I prepared every single week up to this point as if I was the starter because anything can happen, and something has happened. It doesn't change my preparation. I'm always balls to the wall all the time.
"It's awesome. I'm just hopeful that I can make the most of this opportunity."
By shifting into the Rosen Era, the Cardinals effectively might have ushered in the beginning of the end of Sam Bradford's career in the NFL. The nine-year veteran started the first three games for the Cardinals, but had no luck at all in moving the offense as Arizona lost its first three games by a combined scoring margin of 74-20.
"It's Coach's decision. I respect his decision," Bradford said.
All told, Bradford completed 50 of 80 passes (62.5 percent) for 400 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. In his limited action against the Bears, Rosen was 4 of 7 for 36 yards with no touchdowns and one pick.
First-year head coach Steve Wilks was asked if he made the change more because of what Bradford didn't show or more because of what he thinks Rosen can show.
"I think it's a little of both," Wilks said. "I'm very pleased and happy with what I think Josh is going to be able to bring to the table. Then again, we just didn't have a lot of production at that position in the pass. Whether it was all on Sam, or whether it was collectively with the offensive line, the receivers, running backs, we all had a hand in it. But, I wanted to make a change, and I think Josh is going to bring something to the table."
It remains to be seen what the Cardinals plan to do with Bradford moving forward. Wilks said Bradford will serve as a backup, but the team also has quarterback Mike Glennon on the roster. Wilks said Glennon also will serve as a backup. It is doubtful Arizona will keep all three quarterbacks active on game days, so could Bradford actually be inactive this week against Seattle?
Considering he's due a per-game bonus of $312,500 for every game he is active, the Cardinals could save themselves $4 million by sitting Bradford the rest of the season. That would likely trigger his request to be released or traded, however, and that might not necessarily be the best thing for Rosen.
Bradford has been a good mentor for Rosen from the very start.
"Sam Bradford is a pro," Wilks said. "He's going to do everything he can to help Josh out there as he has before."
Wilks likes the fact that Rosen offers much more mobility at the position than Bradford, who has struggled with a worrisome left knee that's undergone three major surgical procedures.
"I think his mobility allows us to do a number of things. Most importantly, I think just buying time in the pocket," Wilks said of Rosen. "I talked last week about (Mitchell) Trubisky, his athleticism and being able to avoid the rush and just buy a little bit more time. Josh has that ability. Can we roll him out a little bit more, sprint outs, boots? Yes. That's all part of what he brings to the table. So, we've got to do a great job in our game-planning and making sure that we put him in the best position to be successful."
If Rosen's first practice as the team's starting quarterback was any indication, things could go smoothly for the rookie in his first actual start.
"We've just got to make sure that we're giving Josh what he can handle. Josh is a very smart guy. He did a tremendous job today in a lot of the things that we were doing," Wilks said. "We threw a lot at him form a standpoint of the install. He did a great job at the line of scrimmage checking and getting us in the right call from a standpoint of protections with the blitzes, those kinds of things as well. I thought he looked good today."
SERIES HISTORY: 39th regular-season meeting. Cardinals lead series, 19-18-1. Since division realignment in 2002, Seattle holds a 17-14-1 advantage in the series. In the 16 seasons since becoming divisional rivals, the teams have split the series nine times, including in five of the last seven seasons. Dating to 2013, Arizona is 4-1 at Seattle but 0-4-1 at home against the Seahawks.