With the Cardinals‘ prospects for a playoff berth looking as bleak as they have in a September since before Carson Palmer arrived, noise around the team beginning the Josh Rosen era has obviously increased. Arizona’s Sam Bradford-led attack did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter against the Rams, and the Cards have just six points this season — the fewest of any team through two games since the 2006 Buccaneers. However, don’t count on a Rosen in-game promotion if Arizona’s struggles continue against the Bears on Sunday. While Steve Keim said (via Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic) the first-round pick “has got to be ready,” he would prefer Steve Wilks give him a full week of first-string reps rather than throw him into the fire. As for Wilks, he does see the UCLA product making strides. Rosen was billed as the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft yet will be the last to see action of his first-round peers.
“Number one, I think the guy is progressing,” Wilks said during an interview with Sirius XM’s Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. “He does a great job each and every week trying to prepare himself. He does get some reps with the ones each and every week, so from that standpoint, it’s good. And then he does an excellent job just as far as running the show team as well, so his operation each week is with the ones as well as on the show team. Prep has been good.
“When the time is right, we’ll definitely get him in there.”
Here’s the latest out of the desert:
- Markus Golden and Jermaine Gresham appear on track to make their 2018 debuts. Both players progressed to full practices this week for the first time this year, per McManaman. Golden’s been out since Week 4 of last season because of an ACL tear. Gresham hasn’t played since Week 17, when the tight end ruptured an Achilles’ tendon. Both began camp on the PUP list. This will be Gresham’s age-30 season, and it’s even more critical for Golden. The edge rusher is set to begin a contract year, so showing he’s recovered from the severe knee injury will be paramount for his stock. Golden finished with 12.5 sacks in 2016. Both players are listed as questionable for Sunday.
- The Cardinals’ new 4-3 defense has looked more like a 4-2-5 look thus far, and that’s resulted in Haason Reddick seeing sparse action in his second season. The 2017 first-rounder’s played only 17 snaps thus far. The Cards’ 2014 first-rounder, Deone Bucannon, was benched against the Rams, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes. Bucannon’s been a full-time starter at either safety or linebacker since his rookie year. Bucannon is also in a contract year. Josh Bynes leads Cardinals linebackers with 141 snaps, and Pro Football Focus tabbed him as the No. 10 overall ‘backer through two games. Bucannon sits 70th on that list, mostly due to Week 1 struggles. Nomad defender Gerald Hodges replaced Bucannon in Week 2.
- Andre Smith remains out for Arizona because of an elbow injury, meaning John Wetzel will start again for the Cards in Week 3, McManaman notes. Considering Khalil Mack frequently lines up opposite right tackles, this poses another problem for a Cards team that’s experienced many thus far this season.