Jim Mora says he was “in no way being negative” toward Josh Rosen
In days and weeks preceding the draft, a prospect’s college coach is expected to be over-the-top in his praise of the player. Typically, it’s all taken with a grain of salt, because that’s what the coach is supposed to say.
An assessment from a coach becomes noteworthy, then, when it’s anything but over the top. Enter the multiple statements made in recent days by former UCLA coach Jim Mora. They were far from over the top.
Mora said that former USC quarterback Sam Darnold is a better fit than Rosen for the Browns. Mora told Peter King of SI.com that Rosen “needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored,” that "[h]e’s a millennial,” that "[h]e wants to know why,” that “Josh has a lot of interests in life,” and that "[i]f you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire.” Mora said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that "[i]f Josh manages his life off the football field and commits to being a great football player not just when he’s at the facility, but when he’s away from the facility, he is going to be amazingly successful.”
Mora appeared on Tuesday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show to further elaborate on Rosen. This time around, Mora was far closer to being over-the-top in his praise. Mora also insisted that he’s been “really clear” and “really consistent” in his message about Rosen, and that his views should be regarded as “very, very complimentary” and “very, very positive.”
“Things can be misrepresented at times when people decide to edit it a certain way,” Mora said.
Mora went on to say that Rosen does indeed need to be challenged intellectually, but Mora said that’s not a bad thing. He compared Rosen to other cerebral quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, pointing out that former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison recently told Mora that Manning’s inquisitive nature routinely kept meetings going longer than they otherwise would have gone.
“Josh loves football,” Mora said. “There’s been a question, ‘Does Josh love football?’ He loves football. He’s on record as saying, ‘If I didn’t love football, I wouldn’t play football.”
Mora also said that Rosen has never indicated that he doesn’t want to play for the Browns, explaining that Rosen is a “competitor” who wants to be the first pick.
“You want to be recognized as the best,” Mora said.
Still, people will look at the full body of Mora’s comments and wonder whether the guy who coached him at UCLA truly does.