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FAB 1. Is Rosen The Bucs’ QB Of The Future?

When Bucs general manager Jason Licht and former head coach Lovie Smith decided to draft Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft they thought they would be drafting Tampa Bay’s quarterback of the future.

Winston spent five years trying to be the future but now he’s in the Bucs’ past, as Licht and head coach Bruce Arians decided to move in a different direction at quarterback after Winston threw a league-leading 30 interceptions, including an NFL-record seven pick-sixes.

Instead of looking to the future, Licht and Arians focused on the present as they successfully lured Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time, to the Bucs in free agency. Brady, who turned 43 in August, spent 20 years in New England winning six Super Bowls. He’ll spend two, perhaps three years in Tampa Bay.

And then Licht and Arians will be looking for the next quarterback of the future – or the present.

Unless they have found one already in newly signed practice squad quarterback Josh Rosen.

Is Rosen, the 10th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft by Arizona, the Bucs’ quarterback of the future? Is he Brady’s heir apparent?

It’s much too soon to jump to that conclusion.

Yet the Bucs are hopeful, as Arians and some in the front office were high on him coming out of UCLA three years ago.

Rosen hasn’t been in Tampa Bay for a full week since being released by Miami, the team that traded for him last year after he was jettisoned from Arizona after the Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick because he was a better fit in new head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense. The reason why the Dolphins gave up on Rosen is because they drafted Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick.

Bucs QB Josh Rosen and OC Byron Leftwich

Bucs QB Josh Rosen and OC Byron Leftwich – Photo by: Getty Images

So now Rosen is on his third team in three years due to circumstances that were largely beyond his control. The last two years Rosen has toiled away on really bad football teams with first-year defensive-minded head coaches. Steve Wilks was fired after one season in Arizona. Brian Flores went 5-11 in his first season in Miami.

The Bucs won’t truly know what they have in Rosen until next offseason during OTAs when he can actually operate Arians’ offense rather than running opposing offenses like he will this fall on Tampa Bay’s scout team.

“Yeah, pretty much because he doesn’t get too many of those plays [on scout team],” Arians said. “Blaine Gabbert and Griff (Ryan Griffin) share those – it’s the only reps they get most of the time. There will be days when he runs the scout team, but most of it is going to be individual work and watching him progress during the season fundamentally.”

Arians, who is known as the “Quarterback Whisperer,” will be Rosen’s first offensive-minded head coach, and he loves putting the former first-round pick on the Bucs’ practice squad to learn from the best in the business – Brady.

“I think it was an excellent move,” Arians said. “Josh wanted to be here. We wanted him here. I really liked him coming out [of UCLA]. Byron [Leftwich] had him for eight or nine games as a starter with a really bad football team. He was around Miami, he learned, he’s sharp, he’s big – he’s got everything you’re looking for, so it’s a great guy to groom.”

Sources at One Buccaneer Place tell me that Rosen has the big arm Arians craves, ideal size for a pocket passer at 6-foot-4, 226 pounds, and good intelligence.

Because Rosen is still guaranteed to receive $3.7 million from Miami from his rookie contract, the 23-year old quarterback turned down offers to sign to the 53-man roster from multiple teams in order to reunite with Leftwich, who coached him in Arizona in 2018, and to learn from Arians and Brady.

Bucs QB Josh Rosen and OC Byron Leftwich

Bucs QB Josh Rosen and OC Byron Leftwich – Photo by: Getty Images

“I don’t even think he was 23 at the time – we have a history,” Leftwich said. “His past doesn’t really matter at this point. He’s come in to be on our practice squad and somebody that we’ll try to develop. He’s somebody that I do have a relationship with – I know him. But, he’s come in doing the same thing. He’s coming in [and] putting his hand in the pile. He’s going to help us as much as [he] can [and] any way [he] can. Right now he’s on the practice squad, so he can do more to help the defense out, especially during scout team stuff.

“That’s how he has to approach it. He has to approach it every day – ‘I’m going out to get better.’ He’s in the room with a guy that everyone can learn from. Everyone can learn from just the way Tom sees the game [and] the way he plays the game. I think he’ll benefit from that. From that standpoint, everything else is just come in, try to work your tail off, get better and we’ll see what happens.”

Rosen came to the right place to resuscitate his NFL career. He completed 217-of-393 passes (55.2 percent) for 2,278 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 starts as a rookie in Arizona in 2018, and was sacked 45 times. Last year, Rosen saw action in six games last year in Miami with three starts, completing 58-of-109 passes (53.2 percent) for 567 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.

Pro Football Focus gave the UCLA product a 49.1 overall rating in 2018 while with the Cardinals and a 46 overall rating in 2019 with the Dolphins. The best thing for Rosen and his long-term outlook in the NFL is probably not playing and sitting back and learning from a noted QB guru in Arians and one of the best to ever play the game in Brady – in addition to Leftwich, a former quarterback himself, and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen.

QB Josh Rosen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“I had a real long-term view sort of in the past and right now I’m trying to shorten that up a little bit and just try to focus on that each day,” Rosen said. “For me, I just wanted to get better, and with the options that I was given where I could go, I just felt like this was the best situation for me football-wise but also sort of from like a stability prospective if I could be in one offense for more than a year and go into OTAs sort of focusing on defense and football as opposed to flash cards.

“From an emotional perspective, being with guys that I’m comfortable with and enjoying the quarterback room and having good personalities, I was kind of looking for just a place where I could become a better football player and I think this is the best place for that. I mean I’m really young. I’m only 23, so I think that if I take care of that, then everything else will fall into place in the long run.”

Rosen is here for now, and he wants to be in Tampa Bay for the future, too.

“I mean I’m definitely here for the year,” Rosen said, indicating he has no plans of leaving the Bucs’ practice squad. “I’m not going to rule out anything because anything could happen. My plan is definitely to stay here, I think four [teams] in three years would be brutal.”

Convincing Rosen to join the Bucs practice squad is another fantastic move this offseason by Licht, who is on quite a roll after acquiring Brady and running backs LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette in free agency, and trading for tight end Rob Gronkowski. If Rosen can end up developing into Brady’s successor in a few years – and that’s a HUGE if – that may wind up becoming one of Licht’s best ever personnel moves in Tampa Bay.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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DannyC
1 year ago

If this kid is patient and sticks it out, he is definitely the heir apparent to Brady. Unless he poops himself in practice, which I don’t think will happen.

Take the year and participate in the QB room with the other 3 QBs and learn and continue to practice with no pressure. Pick up the offense, you’re only 23 years old man, you can be here for along time if you would just be patient. I loved this signing for our future.

rocky
1 year ago

The Rosen signing is so significant and sort of peculiar. Kinda strange both Fitz and Brady will have started and won game for this franchise around the time Rosen arrived. I think one large hurdle for any player, especially the mental workload for a quarterback, is having a balanced mindset. Rosen lacked confidence and was certainly rushed in the two places he was at. Now with money coming in he doesn’t have to worry about that. With Brady and the roster set he doesn’t have to worry about that. He can sit back and absorb a winning season which can… Read more »

REDDMAN
1 year ago

Like the additions of Rosen and Fournette. No risk and possibly a big reward. I do think we need to try and find a solid veteran pass rusher because we have no proven depth in case of injury.

owlykat
Reply to  REDDMAN
1 year ago

Agree totally!

surferdudes
1 year ago

The thing that struck me about Rosen is he’s only 23, and is going on his 3rd season. Very hard for a 20 yr old to be drafted by a crap team and expected to be the ” guy”. I’d imagine his signing will keep the Bucs from looking to draft Tom’s replacement next year. I’m pulling for the kid, and am excited to see how he looks next spring. Gabbert, and Griff are obviously not the future. The Brady factor is in full effect with players like Fournette, and Rosen choosing to come here. As far as Wirfs going… Read more »

owlykat
1 year ago

Great analysis Scott. I love Rosen’s attitude and expect him to be the QB of the future for the Bucs. For the former haters of Licht, he has really come thru for us since BA has been here and deserves some kudos for how he has improved this franchise!

matador
Reply to  owlykat
1 year ago

Give me a break. Licht got lucky, the market for TB12 was smaller than expected, Brady was attracted to our WRs which is the only thing Licht has gotten right in the draft – he’s not here because of RoJo or Brate or O.J. Then with Brady came Gronkowski and then Fournette and Rosen fell into our laps. Licht’s drafting is still piss poor – we probably need to draft still more DBs after a year and then a do-over year of emphasizing it, our pass rush is made of old FAs because he has failed there and our OL… Read more »

Mee Loopa
1 year ago

With the addition of Brady Licht finally realized what a general managers work looks like. You’ll sign a few bigger names off the street, for cheap. If it pans out some other team signs them to bigger contracts and the Bucs get extra compensatory picks.
That’s how the Patriots manage to have a ton of draft picks by draft day – year in, year out.
I’m surprised it took so long, to understand that. He even was part of that machinery in the past.

Spitfire
Reply to  Mee Loopa
1 year ago

You gotta have people here first that anyone would wanna come play with. We’ve never had anyone substantial enough. Bellchick and the Pats could only do what they’ve done because of Brady. If Newton plays like Newton and they fall flat on their face this year and can’t find a good replacement then they will disappear off the radar entirely, even with a good defense. The test for Licht is now that Brady put us on the map, how to keep that train rolling as when he leaves.

matador
Reply to  Spitfire
1 year ago

Newton has been very productive would have been an upgrade vs Winston if we hadn’t gotten lucky with TB12

Captain Sly
1 year ago

Scott, If Rosen had misfortune it was that he was drafted in the 1st rd. Truth is Rosen got 1st year HC Steve Wilks fired for poor play, unrealistic expectations, should have benched him. Then Brian Flores with Miami got him with similarly (high expectations) but he couldn’t beat out a backup QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick.. I’ll just say my expectations are not that High. Cheers!

Randy H.
1 year ago

I did not realize that players are signed off the PS with the main reason being money. I thought that if a team wanted them for their 53 man roster, they went. I didn’t know that the players had a choice in the matter.

76bucsfan46
1 year ago

Rosen is intelligent with a big arm and good mobility. Now it’s let’s learn from the best. Kid can do this if he really want’s it.

Spitfire
1 year ago

Hey, Rosen may not make the cut in the end, BUT he’s got the talent. The question is can he learn from the greatest and have a full year to digest and witness this offense and come in and find what everyone hoped he had? It’s an absolute no risk high reward situation. He’s not being thrown in the fire, he’s not even a backup right now. He can sit and watch and learn and in a couple years still be young enough with low tread on the tires and be primed to hit the ground runnin. I think it’s… Read more »

jongruden
1 year ago

I live 15 min from Cards Stadium and watch all Cards Games so I can speak on Rosen what you get in Rosen is kind of like what we had in Mike Glennon a kid who has a great NFL Arm doesn’t have much mobility and needs talent around him to succeed. Has that Mike Glennon personality which is dry as a cracker and lacks leadership ability with team mates, I don’t think Rosen will ever be a face of franchise qb much like Glennon he could be a valable back up

BigSombrero
Reply to  jongruden
1 year ago

That’s a GREAT comparison to Glennon.

DT25
1 year ago

Love the Fournette signing, but I’m not sure the smart money is on him sticking around past this season, barring a RoJo injury. Few reasons for that…RoJo is younger and still on his rookie deal, for one. He won’t be due a new contract for 2 more years, meaning it’s unlikely we pay Fournette a sizable deal to extend him to be part of this committee unless RoJo regresses to his rookie form…which probably isn’t happening anytime soon. Second, we drafted Vaughn to be part of this rotation…it’s unlikely we decide to essentially red shirt him for another season. And… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by DT25
BigSombrero
1 year ago

On Rosen…who cares? He’s the 4th string QB on his 3rd team in 3 years and is a 1st round bust. Good luck to him and all that, but no way he survives this fan base and rotating coaching staffs if given the opportunity to start in a few years.

Team superlatives mostly make sense. I see Fournette having a larger role and impact. I do think David is still better than White.

geno711
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

I agree BS. We have had our share of 1st round busts at QB for Tampa Bay.
Let those guys go to New Orleans and then hopefully Pittsburgh next year.

By the way, you were shitting on CEH all pre-draft season.
Last night showed you that he has football speed – not 40 time speed that you complained about.

That is the guy that many on Pewter Report wanted over Taylor.

Dave
Reply to  geno711
1 year ago

Haha seriously! The whole Taylor is the best back in the draft, and will win OROY was laughable at best. Taylor won’t even finish top 3 in OROY voting. Once Burrow goes out week 1 and lights up the Chargers defense, it’ll be clear that it’s a 2 man race for OROY. CEH and Burrow. Whoever ends up 3rd will be a distant 3rd

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave
BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

And Dave, shut your dumb ass up. You argue to argue. Akers is 3rd on the pathetic Rams depth chart behind an injured Henderson and some guy named Malcolm Brown.

Dave
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

That’s a negative. Weird how I never seem to disagree with anyone else. I argue with know it alls like you. You’ve made one ridiculous prediction after another for 6 months straight And Ohhh no. Not 3rd on the depth chart. Ravens have Dobbins listed 4th. Watch how incredibly little that matters come week 1. Akers, just like in college, is playing behind a far weaker line than Taylor. And yet he’ll still have a better season. As will Burrow, as will CEH. And Sproles 2.0? Let me know how many games in Sproles career where he had 25+ carries.… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave
BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

You morons said NO RB is worth a first round pick. I argued you’re wrong. After CEH performance, it looks like I’m right.

That said, I still believe Taylor is a better back than CEH and it’s a long season.

I’ll be waiting for your hero, 3rd round RB Kshawn Vaughn, to put up 100+ yards in a game. I may only have to wait YEARS.

BigSombrero
Reply to  geno711
1 year ago

I definitely liked CEH. I had him as the #2 RB. RIght behind Taylor. In my GM Battleplan, I had the Bucs trading out of round 1 and taking Gross Matos, Taylor AND CEH to fortify the positions in the 2nd round. I said CEH reminded me of Darren SProles 2.0 and I was 100% correct. An Andy Reid love affair was just started.

seat26
1 year ago

44 years and 44 drafts and Tampa has never signed a single QB to a 2nd contract. Wouldn’t it be strange if Rosen who is now on his third team in 3 years, and only 23 years old became the first long term QB for Tampa? It would be great if we could see the QB carousel in Tampa end. It might even ensure a long term coaching solution. It would be particularly funny if we picked up a cast away from another team given how many we have cast away. Think of the names that slipped through our hands… Read more »

Naplesfan
1 year ago

Rosen hasn’t shown much if anything in the NFL – he was the worst rated starter (in QBR) in the league last year and lasted less than half a season before being benched in favor of an old player who mostly played backup his career. Can Rosen really be “the quarterback of the future”? I would say that is not a good bet to take. But as with anything else, anything is possible. Look, we got him for nothing, and maybe that’s all he’s worth, or he could be the best value ever taken by any team in league history… Read more »

Spitfire
1 year ago

Ugh, I can’t finish that Brady video. The guys voice is effing creepy AF! 🤮He’s just mulling over the same hate people wanna lay on him. PR you said it yourself, practice runs much more smoothly with Brady under center. He will manage the game better than we’ve ever had at QB as long as he’s healthy. Half New Englands fans are till fans of Brady and the other half wanna make excuses for why they’re better off moving on, who cares he’s gonna play great even if he isn’t the current best and the team as a whole will… Read more »

76Buc
1 year ago

I hope Rosen patterns himself after Tom and not Fitz.

Last edited 1 year ago by 76Buc
CrackerBall
1 year ago

I think he could be… unlike anyone else we currently have. Outside of Brady, we ain’t got much going on.

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