With just one final opportunity to win the backup quarterback job, Feleipe Franks may have squandered away his chance to make the final 53-man roster because I don’t see this team keeping three quarterbacks. It wasn’t only that Franks played poorly; it was more the way Josh Rosen played. He looked more poised, comfortable, and deliberate in his throws than Franks, which shouldn’t be a surprise as the former first-round pick has started over 20 games.
Rosen had minimal preparation for this preseason matchup and looked more prepared than Franks, and even though I would still prefer a veteran over Rosen, he’s clearly the guy for the job out of the rostered quarterbacks, finishing 9-of-18 passing for 118 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions with two drops. Even his head coach was impressed with the effort Rosen put out there with such little time to prepare.
“We won’t rush to judgment here,” Arthur Smith said via Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “But I give Josh credit. He came in here and handled it but we’ll take everything into consideration. I’m not ready to make that statement right now.”
There were obvious signs that he still has room to grow. In my preview of what the Falcons are and aren’t getting with Rosen, several things rang true in my original analysis. First and foremost, Rosen may have thrown a touchdown under pressure, but he still showed incapable of playing outside the system.
Everything I’ve seen makes me think Rosen is an accurate quarterback if he doesn’t get knocked off his first read, but his accuracy diminishes rapidly as he goes through his progressions. This is without taking into account pressure, which drastically affects his accuracy and decision-making. During his time in Miami and Arizona, Rosen would mess it up if the play weren’t perfect. There was no chance he would create off-script. Even when he did try to create something outside of the play, he often threw passes closer to defenders than his own receivers.
There were also clear positives that remained true. His footwork, arm strength, and sheer willingness to throw the ball into tight windows is something that I noticed in his multiple series.
Rosen has decent footwork in the pocket, though it seems he has happy feet now because of how often he was hit, which he didn’t have in college; in fact, his footwork at UCLA was one thing that really impressed me. That shouldn’t be too difficult to recapture with such a stout (kidding) Falcons offensive line (sarcasm).
In my eyes, it isn’t even a conversation at this point if it is between Franks and Rosen. Sure, I’d like a Brian Hoyer type of backup, but Rosen is still much more NFL-ready than the undrafted rookie. That isn’t to say Franks isn’t worth keeping because his athleticism is certainly appealing. If he makes it through waivers, a practice squad spot should definitely be reserved for him, but Rosen put out some encouraging film with such minimal time to prepare and should be rewarded.