Sam Bradford relishes chance to play with ‘versatile’ David Johnson on Cardinals

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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen completes his first pass against the L.A. Chargers in the first half during a preseason NFL football game on Aug. 11, 2018 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

They were only on the field together for a few plays, but Saturday night’s preseason game against the Chargers marked the first time Sam Bradford got a real chance to play alongside running back David Johnson and the Cardinals quarterback had remarked beforehand just how much he was looking forward to it.

Bradford first got a look at Johnson three years ago in Philadelphia, where he was the quarterback of the Eagles. It was Johnson’s third start of his NFL career and he rushed for a career-high 187 yards and scored three touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 42 yards.

“He had a monster game against us,” Bradford recalled. “I was just really impressed by everything he was able to do. When I first got here, I think everyone tried to explain just how special he was and what he was able to do in both the run game and the pass game, all the ways that he can be used.

“You know, I’ve heard that before about some players but then you actually see them and see him and see how smooth he is running routes. He looks like a receiver when he’s split out wide and you don’t see that very often from a guy who is as talented at running the ball as he is. So yeah, I’ve been excited to play with David. I think he’s extremely versatile and hopefully we can find a way to use him a lot.”

Cardinals fans will likely need to wait until the regular season to see more of that versatility, as Johnson will get limited reps in the preseason. He finished the night with 28 yards on two carries. 

Trick or trait

One of the intangibles rookie quarterback Josh Rosen brings to the Cardinals is his ability to throw from different arm angles when he’s under duress in the pocket or when a defensive lineman’s hands and arms get in the way of a moving target.

It’s a sidearm throw that has been perfected by a handful of NFL passers, namely Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who has developed a close friendship with Rosen.

“As a quarterback, that’s sort of my valuable trait,” said Rosen, who made his NFL debut on Saturday, completing 6 of 13 passes for 41 yards. “It’s not just like how hard or far you can throw, it’s being able to change your arm-slot delivery.

“I think Aaron’s the best at it because, sort of like mid-throw you’ll see windows while guys’ hands are up and your ability to change your arm slot and throw sidearm to fit a quick screen in there and contort your body to get halfback screens in there, that’s probably one of the most valuable traits from a throwing perspective. It’s your ability to change your delivery and change your pace on the ball and try to fit things in there and stuff like that more so than just how far you can throw the ball.”

Someone asked Rosen if he’s ever had a coach, including one on the Cardinals’ staff, try to get him to dump the sidearm throw from his repertoire. He just laughed.

“No,” he said. “They drafted me for what I can do and I’m here to deliver.”

LB Jeremy Cash carted off

Injuries have plagued the Cardinals linebackers this training camp, and Jeremy Cash is the latest victim. 

Cash injured his knee on a play with 5:36 left in the third quarter. He was carted off and did not return.

Cash had been having a solid game before the injury. He recovered a fumble forced by Bene Benwikere and ran it in for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 14-3 lead in the third quarter. He had two tackles as well. 

Cash was the 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year at Duke University, where he had 333 tackles in three seasons. He previously played under Wilks with the Panthers and was acquired off waivers in March by the Cardinals. 

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