Falcons quarterback Josh Rosen, who was the 10th player selected overall in the 2018 draft, did his best to attempt to prolong his career in the 19-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
After just three practices, he completed 9 of 18 passes for 118 yards and tossed a touchdown pass. He finished with a passer rating of 89.6. He played much better than undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks and AJ McCarron, who was lost for the season to a torn ACL in his right knee.
“I thought Josh handed it pretty well,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said after the game. “Coming into a short week, he’s been in several systems, a very smart football player. We had a package for him in the game plan; he handled it well. I thought he showed his arm talent tonight. Again, I thought he did a nice job overall.”
The Falcons found themselves in the backup quarterback market after McCarron was injured against Miami on Aug. 21. Rosen, who has been cut already by San Francisco, beat out Blake Bortles in a tryout and was signed on Tuesday.
Despite Rosen’s strong showing in the second half against Cleveland’s backups, the Falcons were noncommittal on if he’d done enough to wrap up the No. 2 quarterback position.
“Sure, there are some things that we are going to want to watch the film, (general manager) Terry (Fontenot) and I and the whole football staff,” Smith said. “We won’t rush to judgment here. Give Josh credit. He came in here and handled it. We’ll take everything into consideration. I’m not ready to make that statement right now.”
The Falcons will take Rosen’s play into consideration and also look at the waiver wires. All NFL teams must trim their rosters down to 53 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Some quarterbacks will be cut. If the Saints cut Trevor Siemian or the Titans cut Logan Woodside, the Falcons could attempt to sign one of them. Both have spent time with Smith, when he was the offensive coordinator with the Titans.
Rosen, who was drafted by Arizona and traded after one year, wouldn’t say if he’d done enough to wrap up the backup spot
“That’s not up to me,” Rosen said.
Rosen had six of the longest plays for the Falcons, including long gainers or 26, 25 and 21 yards. He tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Juwan Green in the third quarter.
“It’s just like show up early, stay late, study really hard, grip and rip it, and hope for the best,” said Rosen, who played at UCLA. “No other way to do it. I mean, I’ve stumbled enough in my career at this point. Really it’s just sort of full gas, like 100%.”
After his one year with the Cardinals, Rosen was traded to Miami. After a year with Miami, he was cut. He was on Tampa Bay’s practice squad last season before signing with San Francisco in December.
He took his chance with the Falcons seriously.
“I mean, I’m in the facility this last week sun up, sun down,” Rosen said. “I don’t have a whole lot more chances like that, so I’m just going to put my head down and keep swinging.”
Green, who finished with three catches for 58 yards, was Rosen’s favorite target.
“I thought just the feeling of throwing a touchdown pass and celebrating with the teammates and coming to the sideline and getting high fives, that was just a feeling I haven’t had in a while and it felt well good,” Rosen said. “I don’t know, it’s like that shot in golf that brings you back. It’s like that’s why we do it. It was fun. Glad I got to feel it again.”
Rosen said he’s matured since coming into the league.
“I think once you get cut, you’re just like, dang,” Rosen said. “You sort of go through worst-case scenario, and you have to sort of use everything I’ve been taught through my career. Meditate a lot. A lot of sort of sports psychology. Everything you do through your whole career to stay mentally strong, snap out of it. Just remind yourself a couple hours later that I know I’m talented and I can play.”
Rosen believes he can still make it in the NFL.
“I just need the opportunity and the right situation and sort of the right mindset,” Rosen said. “I feel like I’m sort of more capable right now seizing an opportunity just because I feel like I’ve grown as an individual since my rookie year. I just feel like I’ve matured as an adult, a human.”
Rosen would love to work with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who was helpful. He answered all of Rosen’s questions and tried to give him some guidance.
“If I ask him anything, immediately, Matt has been amazing,” Rosen said. “I’m very grateful, and hopefully if I’m still here in a week I get to see him go through the course of a season. Yeah, really excited, and he’s been unbelievable in a short time I’ve been here.”
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