Josh Rosen has mentor, new friend in Aaron Rodgers
Of all the fellow quarterbacks who have mentored Josh Rosen, the Cardinals’ new quarterback of the future, one seems to have found a special place in his heart. It’s Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, and you can tell his influence has struck a powerful chord with the former UCLA star.
Remember in 2014 when Rodgers famously told a panicked Packers faithful to chill about Green Bay’s slow start that season? “Five letters here for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers has been reaching out to Rosen for the past several weeks since they met during the production of a television program detailing the path to the NFL draft, and Rodgers might have offered Rosen similar advice after the NFL draft’s first round.
The outspoken Rosen, who slid to the 10th pick, didn’t pull any punches, either, saying, among other things, “Nine mistakes were made ahead of me and I will make sure over the next decade or so that they made a mistake.”
By the time Rosen met with reporters during his introductory news conference the next day, he was as laid back and relaxed as his new BFF, the affable Rodgers, whom he likes to call “The Dude.”
“I was a little emotional last night,” Rosen explained when asked about his post-draft comments. “I would actually say that I’m not as angry that there were nine guys ahead of me — just the three quarterbacks. That’s what kind of gets to me. So, there were three big mistakes ahead of me.
“But honestly, it’s a blessing in disguise. This is an unbelievable team that I think is really, really primed and set to do some incredible things in the future, and I think I just, very simply, lucked out.”
Having a close confidant in a quarterback the likes of Rodgers, a Super Bowl winner and two-time NFL MVP, could prove to be just as fortuitous for Rosen. In Rodgers, with whom he shares the same agents, he can glean information he can’t get from coaches. He’ll gain insight from a “dude” who has been in the pocket and has been there, done that.
The two are also somewhat similar. They are both from California and have personalities that sometimes are misunderstood. They’re known for their leadership skills and their slick sense of humor. Rodgers also knows a little something about sliding in the first round of the draft; he wasn’t picked until the 24th overall selection in 2005.
Rosen, who became part of the first draft class in NFL history to see four quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks, has been relying on Rodgers for all sorts of advice. He’s picked up on tips on everything from how to sit and learn and bide his time as he waits for his chance to become a starter to how to make playing golf a regular part of his routine.
“Aaron has been unbelievable,” Rosen said. “One of the reasons I actually picked the agency (Athletes First) is because I looked up to him as a quarterback. We got introduced because he’s executive producing this TV show that we’re doing with our rookie class, Desti
nation Dallas. It was really cool, and he came down and mentored me a bit.
“The relationship actually went a lot further than I thought it would initially. I thought we were just kind of going to hang out for the cameras a little bit and talk and try to make it look more than it was, but he has reached out to me a lot. He’s been awesome. I look up to him as a player, and I think the way he conducts himself on and off the field is very admirable.”
Listening to Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, Rosen possesses Rodgers’ main traits.
“The three things to me that really stood out was football acumen, his ability to process information, his football IQ,” Keim said. “Secondly, was his passion for the game, which is so important for that position. Then thirdly, to me, was his natural leadership skills, his ability to put the team on his back and to have guys fight for him.”
According to Stanford football coach David Shaw, when it comes to standing in the pocket and throwing the ball directly to a receiver, Rosen is “the best guy to come out since Andrew Luck.”
Another mentor, former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, made an even more interesting comparison while discussing the Cardinals’ pick of Rosen to the team’s flagship radio station, Arizona Sports 98.7.
“I think you’re looking at kind of the next Aaron Rodgerstype player in the NFL,” Dilfer predicted. “He’s that kind of talent.”
Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said Rosen is good enough right now to plug in and play if Arizona didn’t have Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon in its quarterback room. So just imagine how much better he will become once he learns the system, adjusts to life in the NFL and keeps getting taught more life lessons from Rodgers.
“He is a natural passer, and that’s the one thing you see in all the film you watch,” McCoy said. “It’s effortless for him to go out there and throw the football.”
Rosen knows how important it is to play up to the expectations and pressures of being a franchise quarterback.
“It’s pretty daunting,” he admitted. “The biggest thing is knowing that I have careers on my back. I have families, I have kids, and if I don’t play well and I don’t pan out, people have to get new jobs. People get fired and things happen, so you’ve got a lot on your shoulders.
“But I wouldn’t have left college early if I didn’t think I was ready for it. I looked myself in the mirror long and hard and made the decision that this was going to be my profession, my passion, my career.”
As for Rodgers, he’s always going to be the “dude” in Rosen’s eyes. Or as he likes to say it, “the dude with a capital D.”
“He’s just the dude. When he’s walking around the building or whatever he’s doing, you know he’s that guy,” Rosen said.
Newly drafted Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen is already getting advice from Packers star Aaron Rodgers, or “Dude” as Rosen calls him.