Mora explains his Darnold/Rosen remarks

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Last week, former UCLA coach Jim Mora suggested that former USC quarterback Sam Darnold, not former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, would be a better choice for the Browns “because of fit.” The comment made waves, even though Mora also said that the Giants and the Jets should each want Rosen at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

So Mora scraped up some toothpaste and jammed into the funnel in comments to Peter King of SI.com.

Strongly emphasizing, per King, the word “fit” as it relates to the Cleveland comments, Mora praised his former pupil: “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 as it relates to Rosen and the team that holds the No. 1 overall pick?

“He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored,” Mora said. “He’s a millennial. 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.”

Here’s my two cents, which may be worth a little less than that: Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns, Mora knows it, and Mora’s comments were his way of saying it without saying it.

Remember the Week 16 Sunday Splash! report that Rosen would hesitate leaving UCLA if he knew the Browns would take him at No. 1? The report emerged before Rosen declared for the draft or hired an agent, so the universe of potential sources was small: Rosen, a close family member, a close friend, or Mora, the two-time former NFL coach whose number surely resides in the phone of the ESPN reporter who published the impractical claim that nevertheless may have had the same practical impact that Mora’s on-the-record comments were intended to have: To scare the Browns away from taking Rosen.

Also, remember this from Rosen, which also came in late December of 2017? “I’d rather be a lower pick at the right team than a higher at the wrong team.” Those remarks came when it was far more clear that the Browns would be holding the pick that every player typically aspires to be: The first one. So it was, and still is, fair to interpret Rosen’s comments as another message regarding his lack of interest in playing for the Browns.

Considering the full range and scope of the developments in recent months, it’s definitely fair to conclude that Rosen: (1) doesn’t want to play for the Browns; and (2) wants to send that message more subtly, without having to make a “don’t draft me” power play. If the Browns don’t draft him, he gets what he wants. If they do draft him, Rosen then will need to consider whether to initiate the “trade me” ploy, or whether to just deal with the hand he’s been dealt.

Either way, it’s safe to assume Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns, but that he doesn’t want the public ridicule and criticism that would come if a guy who already is perceived to be a certain way acts precisely that way as it relates to the Browns or any other NFL team.

Thus, the premise of King’s item — that Rosen may be dismayed with Mora’s comments from last week — presumes that, in reality, Rosen isn’t delighted by them. The truth may be that he is.

So why is Rosen visiting the Browns this week, you ask? Again, he’s sufficiently self aware to know how others regard him, and he doesn’t want to be regarded as a guy who is trying to engineer the draft process in his favor. Even if he is.

My guess: He is.

31 responses to “Mora explains his Darnold/Rosen remarks

  1. I think Florio is correct in viewing Mora’s comments as manipulative rather than substantive. Mora knew the firestorm he was starting would reflect poorly on him as a coach yet has persisted and refused to back down which is unlike his previous self promotion. His comments were a clear slap at Hue Jackson (Rosen needs to be challenged intellectually; He needs to know why). Mora is a personal friend of Rosen. If you assume Rosen is a co-conspirator it is clear that Cleveland would have an unhappy QB if they pick him. Without money as a motivator it is unclear how Cleveland would keep Rosen engaged. Let another team deal with him.

  2. Yeah what an utter spoiled brat for not wanting to play for an organization that appears to be the #1 QB killer in the world. Why can’t he suck it up like us average people and just happily work for the corporation he’s assigned to?

  3. If you can play for the Giants, Jets, or Browns of course you’re not going to want to go to the Browns. This is not a bad thing. It’s an intelligent decision.

  4. I don’t know how anyone could blame a player for wanting to avoid the Factory of Sadness. That said, as an underclassman, Rosen could have avoided it just by playing at UCLA another year. The Browns look like a team that’s getting ready to crawl out of the basement, so maybe next year they won’t be picking at the top. Then again, they ARE the Browns…

  5. Cleveland would be wise to steer clear of this future bust anyway. He isn’t emotionally capable of dealing with the pressure of a starting QB in the NFL and his combine performance raises some pretty big question marks. Let one of the NY teams snap him up and watch the snowflake melt in the glare of Broadway lights.

  6. Nothing wrong with a guy trying to subtly influence where he ends up at the beginning of his professional football career. Any quarterback with a brainstem knows that Cleveland is a place that churns and burns through quarterbacks—young guys and veterans—at an embarrassingly high rate. Clearly, the organization has a problem beyond player selection.

    Rosen would be foolish to think he’s so special—a “snowflake,” perhaps?—that he can change decades of bad quarterback play. So lets cut the guy a break and give him credit for being smart about how his career begins.

  7. Judging from this and other things I’ve heard about Rosen, you might think that no team would be interested in having a QB with his outlook and personality?

  8. Rosen is a millennial who wants the world his way. He doesn’t want to play for the Browns. It’s self evident. I’d say they are better off drafting somebody else, even if Rosen looks like the best prospect. This is just Brownies luck.

  9. “He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored,” Mora said. “He’s a millennial. 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.”

    *****************************************************************************

    This is stupidest, most nonsensical thing Mora could’ve said here. If you’re going to back-pedal after saying something, at least make sense.

  10. If you can play for the Giants, Jets, or Browns of course you’re not going to want to go to the Browns. This is not a bad thing. It’s an intelligent decision…especially with the “QBwhisperer”, Hue Jackson, at the helm…

  11. My guess is that no one in this entire draft would aspire to play for the Browns. However if it meant going no. 1 overall, Mayfield seems that he would jump at it.

  12. Do you blame him? I just would have gotten a better spokesperson for me than awkward Jim Mora Jr. The last 2 guys who pulled the move, Eli and John Elway, it worked out pretty well for both avoiding the teams they avoided for the reasons they did (the Colts were were way more awful under the original Irsay and that’s hard to top how crazy his son is, and Rivers hasn’t won anything because the Spannoses are cheap, saddling him with Norv Turner in his prime when he had the best roster in football).

    If I was the Browns though, I’d still take him.

  13. “He’s a millennial….Enough said and that’s a pass…A hard pass!”

    Uh… EVERY PLAYER IN THIS DRAFT is a “Millenial”. Is your advice to teams to simply skip the draft this year?

  14. Pretty strong indictment on his character coming from his coach! “If you can hold his interest” – “needs to be intellectually challenged” – “needs to know why”

    cut through the BS…Mora’s calling a kid he just coached a jerk.

  15. By the way, Mora’s babbling is pretty nonsensical. Every player in the draft is a millenial unless he has a different, secret definition for them. Kind of explains why he’s unemployed once again. Again, could have gotten this message to Cleveland a whole lot smoother than through Mr. Awkward telling them through the media.

  16. “He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored,” Mora said. “He’s a millennial. 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.”
    ———————————-
    That statement, to me, would raise significant red flags from his former coach. The biggest is “if you can keep his concentration level and focus on football”. Since his former coach questions his focus on football and his “lot of interests in life”. it sounds to me like he is easily distracted and thus, a likely bust in the NFL.

  17. Here’s my two cents: Mora has spent his entire career making one stupid comment after the other…..he wants to talk a lot, but never seems to have given the subject much thought. So he sticks his foot in his mouth, and then rambles aimlessly trying to backpedal. Truth is, his last name is really Moron.

  18. After what Mora said I wonder how many teams now are no longer interested in that concussion-prone, immature QB. These statements wouldn’t give me any feeling of certainty that he can handle being an NFL QB.

    Not that it matters. He’ll probably be injured 75% of the time before he is done. I give his career three years because of injuries.

  19. “I’d rather be a lower pick at the right team than a higher at the wrong team.” All that speaks to is fit, which is a valid point.

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