The Denver Broncos 45-10 beatdown put on quarterback Josh Rosen and the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night provided a stark lesson about projecting future potential of any rookie quarterbacks in the NFL. Those most fervently suggesting Rosen was the most “pro-ready” of all the quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft might be feeling a tad sheepish today. After he turned in a 21/39, 194 yard 3 INT, 2 lost fumble performance, Rosen basically looked every bit like one would expect from a rookie quarterback having some issues adjusting to the NFL.
And of course all I could think of was…
Josh Rosen to Nathan Peterman: Hold my beer 😂
— Robyn Mundy (@RobynMundyWYO) October 19, 2018
I honestly dreaded looking at Twitter and seeing my timeline littered with ‘Rosenites’ defending their Chosen One and Allen supporters who felt they were given a reprieve for being endlessly chastised about it. The level of hostility from the Rosen and Allen camps is quite remarkable, even on a national level.
The biggest takeaway from Rosen’s performance on Thursday night was the reminder that no matter what analytics “tells you”, the road to success from college to the NFL for quarterbacks is loaded with more potholes than the city of Buffalo is during March.
No matter what the footwork looks like, or how the ball comes off their hands, each of these quarterbacks are going to experience resounding failures as they learn. Bill Parcells has been quoted many times saying the best lessons come from how you respond to failure rather than success.
Failure is the ultimate equalizer.
How we handle adversity defines our character in ways no other experience can. Do we make excuses? Pout? Take our frustration out on others around us?
Or do we lick our wounds, get up and learn from our experience? Are we capable of staring failure straight in the face and take a good hard look at what we did to facilitate this outcome?
Whatever path we choose in this regard will define something football analytics don’t measure. It’s one of the ‘intangible’ factors I’m always blabbing about. Just because you can’t measure it or put it on a spreadsheet doesn’t mean it’s something squishy you can just “hope” develops along the way.
One of the traits I found endearing about Josh Allen when I watched his Wyoming games was something we’ve already seen from him on the sidelines – talking with his teammates. It seems like such a simple act, but what it reveals about how a person leads is significant for rookie quarterbacks.
Watch these quarterbacks on the sidelines. Are they sitting by themselves pouting, or are they interacting with teammates on both sides of the ball when they get a chance? Never underestimate the effect of leadership from someone who understands the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts and demonstrates that with their behavior.
My biggest takeaway from Rosen’s dismal performance Thursday night is that each one of these rookies stepped off the edge of the pool in the deep end this season. How they navigate their way from there will vary based on a number of factors that are not all measurable by data analytics.
There is no short cut to becoming experienced – and failure is the best teacher of all.
So instead of rubbing our crystal balls and proclaiming to know which one of this rookie class of NFL quarterbacks is going to end up being the best-in-show, maybe we should take a moment and let them each grow at their own pace.
Editor’s babble: The vitriol on Twitter between Bills fans who wanted this quarterback or that quarterback has reached an almost unhealthy place at this point. It causes people to miss the best part of watching rookies mature into talented NFL quarterbacks. I survive by watching and reading as much from Erik Turner and @Cover_1_ as possible. And from our good friend Dean Kindig (@TCBILLS_Astro) as well. If you can stand it, you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.