CLEVELAND, Ohio — With the Deshaun Watson situation still up in the air, the Browns signed former first-rounder quarterback Josh Rosen to add much-needed depth to the Cleveland quarterback position. The 10th pick in the 2018 draft has thrown for 2,864 yards, 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. With only a 54% career completion percentage and a 3-13 record as a starter, Rosen has struggled with consistency on and off the field.
Watching the film, Rosen seems to be able to make all the throws needed at the NFL level from a non-pressured pocket. When his feet and arm are in rhythm, he is extremely efficient in the short passing game. He understands coverage and uses his eyes to manipulate defenders.
Below, Rosen throws a curl route to Christian Kirk. From a clean pocket, Rosen is able to read man coverage and deliver an accurate football.
Below are a succession of pictures demonstrating the ability of Rosen to recognize cover 1 and use his eyes to manipulate the safety to his right. After the safety moves, he throws an accurate pass to Larry Fitzgerald for 19-yard touchdown.
Unfortunately, Rosen is not very mobile and has trouble making big plays when the original scheme breaks down. In the NFL, a quarterback must make throws from different angles and platforms, both of which are difficult for Rosen. Furthermore, looking at his injury history, he has had a few shoulder injuries, and multiple concussions that have affected his consistency. There are areas that the former UCLA signal caller must immediately improve to help the Browns organization:
1. His accuracy; and
2. His level of anticipation.
On film, Rosen really struggles with accuracy when he is throwing on the run or is moved off his spot in the pocket. This movement, forced by pressure, seems to have an adverse effect on his ball placement.
Below, Rosen makes a very poor decision and an inaccurate throw that resulted in a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown by Denver’s Christopher Harris. As play starts, Denver brings a 5-man pressure that causes Rosen to make a quick read off of Harris, who is playing corner. As Harris drops, Rosen should throw the ball to the underneath receiver. The pressure causes Rosen to throw off his back foot, making a poor read and delivering a bad throw.
Rosen must also work on his anticipation (the coverages and routes that work against those coverages) and deliver the football on time. This type of anticipation comes from studying film and understanding the playbook. The more confident a quarterback is in the playbook, the more proficient he can become delivering the football accurately.
Below is a series of pictures that demonstrate the lack of anticipation from Rosen. In the top picture, the Washington Football Team is playing a Tampa 2 coverage, where the middle linebacker drops to the middle of the field. In the second picture, the Dolphins run a curl route that opens up between the two linebackers. Rosen, for whatever reason, does not anticipate quickly and is late to the receiver. This results in an interception.
What we have learned
Rosen has a ton of potential that has yet to betapped at the NFL level. In the past, he has had offensive line issues, scheme issues, and many dropped passes from his receivers; however, some of his issues and shortcomings are self-induced. Because he does not have great feet, he must have elite accuracy and improve anticipation from the pocket.
Lance Reisland is the former coach at Garfield Heights High School, where he spent 18 seasons as an assistant for his father, Chuck, and four as head coach, from 2014-18. In 2018, his team finished 11-1 and appeared in the OHSAA Division II regional semifinals. That team went 10-0 and made history as the first Garfield Heights team in 41 years to have an undefeated regular season along with beating Warren G. Harding for the first playoff win in school history.