Jim Mora, who once went on the radio to gush his interest in one head coaching job while he still had another, thinks Josh Rosen’s “concentration level” and “focus” might be a concern for NFL teams because Rosen [slaps forehead] is “a millennial.”
“He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored,” Mora told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King for today’s The MMQB column. King had asked Mora to explain why he thinks the Cleveland Browns ought to draft Sam Darnold of rival USC No. 1 overall ahead of Rosen, whom Mora coached at UCLA before he was fired last November.
“He’s a millennial,” Mora went on. “He wants to know why. Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interests in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire. He has so much ability, and he’s a really good kid.”
Rosen has positioned himself to become one of the first picks in the draft, a possible franchise quarterback for one of any number of teams in need of a franchise quarterback. And in last week’s NFL Network interview, Mora himself snapped his fingers and said the Giants or Jets—with picks No. 2 and No. 3, respectively—should “take Josh like that.” Mora also told Peter King this:
“Josh, I think, without a doubt, is the number one quarterback in the draft. He’s a franchise-changer. He’s got the ability to have an immediate impact. His arm talent, intelligence, and his ability to see the game and diagnose the game is rare. He’d come to the sidelines after a play and it was uncanny—he could right away say exactly why he made every decision.”
So what’s the issue? King wrote that Mora kept emphasizing something about Darnold’s potential “fit” with the Browns, which Mora characterized as “the underdog mentality that I think will fit so well in Cleveland, a franchise that’s really been down.” UCLA went 10-15 during Rosen’s final two seasons. It would seem that Rosen became well acquainted with being down while playing for football teams coached by Jim Mora.
Mora has done this before. Two years ago, he told SI’s Albert Breer that Rosen’s “maturity” was still an open question, and that Rosen “[j]ust needs to continue to grow and not think he’s arrived.” In Fusty Old Football Man parlance, this is blunt talk; Rosen is famously opinionated with a mind that’s capable of thinking about something other than deciphering a Cover 2 defense. To Fusty Old Football Men like Jim Mora, this is problematic. By reaching for a word like “millennial,” he’s telling on himself.
Jim Trotter of NFL Media drilled down on what this all means:
Via Trotter, here is the full quote McDaniels gave Breer about Brady (emphasis mine):
“He’s a challenging guy to coach because his aptitude is so significant. He’s a tremendous player as far as coming every day ready to work and ready and willing to learn. That pulls the best out of you as a coach because you can’t go into the meeting room and not challenge this guy to try and get better.
“Here’s a guy, he’ll go down as what he’ll go down as, which is one of the greatest players ever to play in this game, but he still comes into every meeting looking for something that’s going to make him a better player that day. And as a coach, you have to respond accordingly, whether it’s making sure you provide him with that information or you find something to help him improve some aspect of his game.”
Mora has thus revealed one of two things: 1) He really doesn’t want Josh Rosen to wind up in Cleveland; or 2) He didn’t have the first clue how to coach Josh Rosen.