Josh Rosen's Resurrection Begins With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystSeptember 7, 2020

Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass the ball,during the first half at an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

It's now or never for quarterback Josh Rosen if his professional career is ever going to get on track. Thankfully, he finally landed in a situation where he can thrive instead of trying to survive yet another onslaught.

Rosen agreed to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad Sunday after being released by the Miami Dolphins, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero.

The move is calculated and borderline brilliant.

Some may look at his current situation with derision and make snide comments about how the 2018 10th overall pick is now on a practice squad behind backups Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin.

But the move isn't about money or roster standing. Rosen and his agents orchestrated the setup by trying to "convince teams not to claim him" off waivers, per Pelissero. He received $17.6 million in guaranteed money from his original rookie deal.

The quarterback's decision came down to one simple question: Where is the best possible situation for him to succeed? Once given the freedom to choose his destination, Tampa Bay became the logical choice.

No other team could provide a better landing spot for a young quarterback to learn the game, be given time to develop and possibly have a chance to become the long-term starter. Interestingly, Jameis Winston, who Tom Brady replaced as the Buccaneers' starting quarterback, took a similar approach when he passed on bigger contract offers to play for Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints while learning from Drew Brees.

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"It's different when you have someone who's a Hall of Fame quarterback that you can ask," Winston told Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne. "He can say, 'Hey, bro, don't watch this stuff. Just watch me. Come work out with me. Let's work out together. Let's do this again. Let's watch film together.' Now he has no choice, because I'm going to be sitting in the room. I'm going to be with him every day."

The same should apply for Rosen, who's now in the same room with Brady.

Tom Brady
Tom BradyChris O'Meara/Associated Press/Associated Press

No guarantee exists that Rosen will finally live up to his potential and become a franchise quarterback, but he now has a chance, and that's all he could want.

Before looking at the specifics of how this marriage could not just work but flourish, remember that Rosen is only 23. He came into the league at 21 and had been placed in two horrible situations where teams were falling apart or completely rebuilding.

In Arizona, the Cardinals were in the middle of a one-and-done year with Steve Wilks leading the franchise, while Rosen's offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, received a pink slip by mid-October. After "earning" the No. 1 overall pick, the Cardinals decided to go with Kyler Murray as the perfect triggerman for Kliff Kingsbury's offensive scheme, and Rosen became expendable. The Dolphins then took a shot on him, but he once again entered a dire situation, with Miami starting a strip-it-to-the-studs rebuild.

Rosen hasn't experienced any consistency during his college or professional career. In fact, he's on his eighth offensive coordinator since joining UCLA in 2015, as Rotoworld's Thor Nystrom noted.

How do years of stop-starts change in Tampa Bay?

Current Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich with Rosen.
Current Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich with Rosen.Ralph Freso/Associated Press/Associated Press

Well, a familiar face will be a welcome change of pace since Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich previously served as Rosen's quarterbacks coach/interim play-caller in Arizona after McCoy's firing. Rosen can be torn down and rebuilt by someone who understands him as well as anyone in the league.

Furthermore, Bruce Arians is one of the league's most quarterback-friendly head coaches. He demands a lot, but he also understands the position as well as anyone and places his passers in aggressive schemes to let them be the gunslingers most are at heart.

In Rosen's case, Arians saw the potential in him after he "retired" and spent a season as a member of the media. The former coach continued to study prospects, and Rosen caught his eye.

"I think he's probably the most ready guy in the draft, you know?" Arians said during an interview on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports' Doug & Wolf. "He played in a really good offense; he's a bright guy. I would say, 'Hey, just let your football do the talking and just blend in.'"

The coach's reference to Rosen playing "in a really good offense" is important, because Arians does have a preference: traditional pocket passers who can properly execute his vertical passing game. Some may snicker at that statement since Brady is known for meticulously picking apart defenses in a precision passing approach, but the 43-year-old can still drive the ball downfield when needed.

What you see in Rosen is a natural thrower with a certain toughness in the pocket and the ability to be a successful deep passer since he's willing to stand tall, take a hit and deliver the ball.

As Pro Football Focus noted prior to the '18 draft, he ranked third among his classmates with a 68.9 adjusted completion percentage versus pressure and 12th with a 50.0 adjusted completion percentage on deep passes.

Rosen is fearless when trying to squeeze the ball into tight windows and throws a beautiful spiral—both important considering Arians' "no risk it, no biscuit" mentality.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians.Paul Sancya/Associated Press/Associated Press

While the Arians system is known for its aggressiveness, every quarterback must be efficient when easy completions are available. In Rosen's case, he graded the best in his class on intermediate (10-19 yards) throws, per PFF's Steve Palazzolo.

The talent didn't just disappear; it simply hasn't been properly cultivated.

In Tampa Bay, Rosen can take a step back, learn how to be a professional and sponge everything he can from Brady and Arians for a year or two in a no-pressure and stable environment after being thrown to the wolves since entering the league. The Buccaneers have a chance to rebuild Rosen's confidence and potentially develop a future starter at a massively discounted price.

For a franchise playing to win now that didn't have any long-term plans at the game's most important position, the Buccaneers made a smart investment in Rosen, and vice versa.

      

Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @brentsobleski.