Seahawks won’t be Josh Rosen’s first fall guys

NFL

Josh Rosen won’t get off to a winning start against a still-tough Seattle Seahawks defense.

Naming Josh Rosen his starting quarterback is the only obvious boost Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks can give his 0-3 team. Sadly for Rosen, the boost won’t last long after he takes a heavy beating from a Seattle Seahawks defense still tougher than most despite being stripped to the bare bones.

These ‘Hawks aren’t the ‘Legion of Boom’ anymore. Richard Sherman is in San Francisco and Kam Chancellor’s career appears over thanks to a neck injury.

Earl Thomas is the last Legion alumnus still standing. The problem is he wants a trade and hasn’t been shy about saying so.

Things look just as threadbare along what was once a front seven teams feared. Rosen won’t lose much sleep now Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are no longer creating havoc up front.

The rookie’s job will be easier the longer K.J. Wright isn’t healthy enough to bring the thump at the linebacker level.

With so much talent gone from a once-vaunted D’ the signs surely point to Rosen winning his first start, right? Wrong.

These Seahawks are still an imposing bunch defensively because of the deceptive talent on the roster.

Bennett was a game-wrecker almost impossible to replace. Credit Frank Clark then for at least giving it a go.

Clark has three sacks already, giving him 25 since he turned pro in 2015. He’s versatile enough to rush from either side or from the interior.

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Clark’s presence is ominous for a Cardinals offensive line that’s surrendered seven sacks and 20 QB hits through three games.

The bigger problem for Rosen will be choosing the right passes against a back seven fortified by the return from injury of Bobby Wagner. He’s arguably football’s premier middle linebacker and the signal-caller for the tight zone schemes Seattle run underneath.

Wagner is already benefiting from the arrival of Mychal Kendricks. He’s a superb natural athlete whose aggressive tendencies belong in the Seahawks’ system.

Rosen can take a peek behind Wagner and Kendricks and find a pair of outstanding safeties. Thomas, for all his issues with management, was on form on the field enough to intercept two passes against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3.

Thomas also has an ideal complement in Bradley McDougald. The 27-year-old isn’t quite Chancellor mark II, but he’s still catching the eye, according to Greg Bell of The News Tribune:

Many of his tackles have come on third down to end foes’ drives; Seattle has held foes under a 33-percent conversion rate on third downs (12-for-37). This time last season, opponents had converted 15 times on third downs.

Plus, McDougald has two stops behind the line of scrimmage and four passes defensed. His two interceptions came in the opener at Denver Sept. 9.

Rosen would be wise not too get too cocky about testing this secondary. The book on Rosen coming out of UCLA was that he’s a gifted, pro-style passer who can get into trouble reading coverage and trying to make something out of bad situations.

Those are weaknesses Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll can exploit. Carroll’s schematic chops are often overlooked, but for all the coordinators who come and go in Seattle, he’s the true architect of the defense.

Expect Carroll to creep safeties up in robber coverage to try and fool Rosen. He also won’t be shy about bringing the blitz, something the Seahawks do more often now Bennett is no longer in town.

Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy may ditch his pass-happy tendencies and let David Johnson test a run defense ranked 30th in the NFL. The number may be misleading, though, since tackles Jarran Reed and Shamar Stephen are natural run-cloggers.

It all adds up to a gruelling first start for Rosen. His NFL introduction was brutal enough when he replaced Bradford against Khalil Mack and the Bears last week.

The Seahawks can make things even rougher for the draft’s 10th overall pick.

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