The Cardinals drafted Josh Rosen to be their quarterback of the future, but Sam Bradford doesn’t have any intention of giving up the starting job this year.
Anytime a franchise invests a first-round pick in a quarterback, it’s a clear signal to the quarterbacks on the roster that change is coming. It’s no different for the Arizona Cardinals. Selecting Josh Rosen clearly means the organization plans to make him the guy sooner or later. That doesn’t mean Sam Bradford has to make it easy for him.
The veteran quarterback’s play against the Saints sent a clear message to the coaching staff that he’s ready to begin the regular season as the team’s starter. The former Oklahoma star went 6-for-6 for 61 yards in his three series on the night. It’s dangerous to read too much into one preseason game, but it’s hard to imagine Bradford doing anything more to strengthen his grip on his starting position.
It’s pretty clear that first-year head coach Steve Wilks would prefer to go with Bradford for as long as possible. He doesn’t want to throw Rosen to the wolves right off the bat. It’s not as if Bradford doesn’t have the talent to be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. Instead, it’s a simple matter of durability.
Bradford has a sordid history of missing games throughout his career. Last season, he only managed to stay healthy for 91 total snaps. Clearly, the Cardinals coaching staff hopes they get more than two starts out of the veteran signal caller in 2018. Playing like he did against the Saints should remove any temptation the Cardinals might have been feeling to go with Rosen to start the campaign.
The good news for Wilks and company is that their rookie certainly wasn’t in awe of Bradford’s stellar night. He went into the lineup and had a pretty good night of his own. Rosen finished the night after going 10 of 16 for 107 yards and a touchdown. His night wasn’t quite as efficient as Bradford’s, but it was pretty close.
Truthfully, there’s no reason for Rosen fans to despair. He may not start the season as the Cardinals’ first option under center, but Bradford’s injury history likely means it’s only a matter of time before he gets his chance on the field. Bradford’s big preseason showing will help him fend Rosen off for the time being, but look for his body to betray him before the season reaches its halfway point.