As the son of a Philadelphia native, Josh Rosen grew up an Andy Reid disciple.
He used to wear an Eagles shirt that proudly proclaimed, “My coach could eat your coach,” and watched Philadelphia games his mom taped off the television using a camcorder.
“I was at a Pop Warner practice and came back, and it was the Redskins game,” Rosen told Arizona media earlier this week. “She showed me and said, ‘Hey, there’s a surprise for you on the first play.’ It was the naked boot when (Michael Vick) bombed it like 80 yards to DeSean Jackson. I remember it like it was yesterday after Pop Warner practice.”
This weekend, Rosen will be going against Reid as the Chiefs host the Cardinals Sunday afternoon.
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Reid isn’t Rosen’s only connection to the Chiefs (8-1). He and quarterback Patrick Mahomes were also roommates at the Manning Passing Academy when the two were in college.
“He was a guy that was up with me early, working with all those kids and just loving the experience,” Mahomes said. “I know that he loves football and loves being able to just go out there and being a quarterback, and those are the guys that have success.”
Because the two weren’t playing in the camp, Rosen remembers Mahomes’ personality more than his arm.
“We didn’t get to really throw too much, but I liked him as a dude,” Rosen said. “We got along really well.”
It’s the second week in a row that Mahomes has faced a rookie quarterback who he crossed paths with earlier in his career. A week ago, Mahomes faced Baker Mayfield, who he played against in college and was nearly teammates with at Texas Tech.
Mahomes’ connections aren’t as deep with Rosen, but he recognizes that the Cardinals’ quarterback is plenty talented.
“I know he throws a beautiful ball,” Mahomes said. “Every single time it leaves his hand it’s a perfect spiral. I know he’s a very smart guy, so I know he’ll have a lot of success in this league.”
Like Mayfield, Rosen enters the game learning from his second offensive coordinator of the season.
Rosen began the season with Mike McCoy in that role, but McCoy was fired a month ago after a slow start to the new quarterback’s development. Cardinals quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich was promoted to take his place. Rosen is plenty familiar with new offensive coordinators, having worked with three in three years at UCLA. Under Leftwich’s direction against the 49ers, Rosen appeared to take a couple of steps forward, too, as he led a fourth-quarter comeback with two touchdown passes, including the game-winning throw to Christian Kirk with 34 seconds left.
Entering Sunday’s game, the Cardinals are coming off a bye. That means Leftwich had an extra week to work with Rosen. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. With an anemic run game and the strong likelihood that the Chiefs will jump out to an early lead, Rosen could be throwing the ball around a lot on Sunday. He comes into the game with a 55.6 completion percentage, and Pro Football Focus ranks him 27th out of the league’s 32 starting NFL quarterbacks.
At 2-6, Rosen and his Arizona Cardinals aren’t exactly a major threat to the Chiefs this week, but that doesn’t mean Reid is taking his former fan lightly.
“You can let spreads and all these things, ‘trap game,’ all these terms that pop up and things that happen come into it, but if you can honestly focus on the process and discipline yourself to do that, that normally takes care of things,” Reid said. “At least, it makes it an even game in that area, where you are not going to let distractions get in the way.”