Cardinals wisely holding Josh Rosen out of preseason finale

Arizona Cardinals

There’s a fine line between valuable reps and unnecessary risk, so the Arizona Cardinals are holding Josh Rosen out of their preseason finale.

When he got first-team reps this preseason, in the second game against the Saints, Josh Rosen did fairly well (10-for-16 for 107 yards and a touchdown). But a thumb injury in practice a few days later caused him to miss the Cardinals’ third preseason game, and according to Steve Wyche of NFL Network the 10th overall pick in April’s draft will not play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Broncos.

It is a short turnaround for the Cardinals , just like a regular season week with a Thursday night game on the docket, since they played the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night in Dallas. Rosen threw in practice on Tuesday, which is a good sign of progress. But not being able to play in that pivotal third preseason game was a setback to any chance he had to win the starting job from Sam Bradford.

While the Cleveland Browns are throwing their first-round quarterback into the fire for their preseason finale, under the technicality he’s not the Week 1 starter, the Cardinals are taking the more cautious approach with Rosen. Of course it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, since Baker Mayfield is and has been by all accounts 100 percent healthy. The Cardinals also have a much more injury-prone quarterback ahead of their highly-touted rookie, and assuring Rosen’s thumb is good to go heading into Week 1 is pretty critical in case he has to take the field.

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The Cardinals would have surely have liked to see more than 29 pass attempts from Rosen during his rookie preseason. But looking back, with the idea he’ll be the clear-cut starter a year from now and well into the future, that may stand as the most extensive preseason action he’ll see in his NFL career.

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