Inconsistency marks Josh Rosen’s first 10 NFL starts

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              Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) reacts to a dropped pass during the second half of NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Lions won 17-3. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Inconsistency might be the best way to describe the young NFL career of Josh Rosen.

“I still think he’s improving,” coach Steve Wilks. “It’s hard to say in that game (a 17-3 loss to Detroit on Sunday), but I still think he’s progressing, moving forward.”

But as he often does when discussing his rookie quarterback, Wilks qualified his praise.

“When you look at some of the opportunities that he had, we have to do a much better job of really going through our progression and not trying to force a lot of throws,” Wilks said. “Sometimes there are check-downs underneath that we need to look at. We need to see the rotation of the safeties as far as cover two, single-high and those things.”

Then, Wilks added, “I think he’s doing a good job.”

Rosen’s passing statistics are near the bottom of the list of NFL starters. He’s completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,910 yards with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

“I definitely need to throw to our team a lot more in all facets,” Rosen quipped when asked about his accuracy issues.

Backup Mike Glennon, watching from the sidelines, sees Rosen’s growth, though.

“Obviously some weeks are better than others. That’s just part of being a rookie,” Glennon said, “but I think some of the most valuable things is the experience he’s getting. Really, that’s just irreplaceable. Overall, no matter what the results are, he is improving. That’s just how valuable those reps are.

“He’s done some good things and some plays he’d like to have back but I think he’s seeing the field better and he is growing as the season progresses.”

Rosen, speaking to reporters after practice Wednesday, didn’t want to assess his growth as a quarterback through those last 10 games as a starter.

“That’s kind of up to you guys. I’m just trying to go and win football games,” he said. “I haven’t done as much of that as I would’ve liked to this year. We’ve got three left, but the growth and development, that’s all in your guys’ columns.”

Arizona is 3-7 since Rosen took over as starter four weeks into the season and 3-10 overall, tied for worst in the NFL.

Rosen’s efforts have been hampered by the shifting cast of characters around him. Arizona has six offensive linemen on injured reserve. The only player remaining from the unit that began the season is rookie center Mason Cole, and he only got the job because A.Q. Shipley blew out a knee in training camp.

Rosen will have three rookies starting on the offensive line when the team plays the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday.

“I don’t want to say it hurts him,” Wilks said. “Is there inconsistency there? Yes, but Josh, as he and I spoke the other day, he’s just got to do a much better job of keeping his eyes down the field and not worry about the rush because when he does that, he’s pretty effective.”

Rosen also must deal with a thin receiving corps that has little experience beyond Larry Fitzgerald. Rosen lost his good friend and one of his favorite targets, Christian Kirk, to a season-ending foot injury. Wide receiver Chad Williams missed the Detroit game with a hamstring injury and didn’t practice Wednesday.

“We’re bringing in new guys and just seeing who can play,” Rosen said. “I think at this point in the year it’s, if anything, the intensity of practice is picking up a little bit because there’s competition at every position all over the field.”

He said all the changes in personnel are “tough because we haven’t been winning games, but it’s football. It’s a physical sport. Injuries and all this stuff happen all the time. It’s just that the degree happens to be a little bit more here this particular year.

“Throughout your football life, you’re always faced with adversity in different forms and fashions. It just happens to be a little bit more. I’ve got to buck up and get ready just a little bit more.”

Notes: Wilks said DT Robert Nkemdiche would undergo surgery Thursday to repair a torn ACL. … RB David Johnson (quadriceps) and S Budda Baker (knee) did not practice Wednesday. Fitzgerald had a veteran’s day off.