f the NFL playoffs started today, a record 3 rookie quarterbacks would be leading their own teams into the postseason. With a couple weeks left to play, Indianapolis’ Andrew Fortune, Washington’s Robert Griffin III, plus Seattle’s Russell Wilson all get their teams roaring toward unexpected postseason berths.
This is simply no fluke. It’s a reflection of the new approach teams have begun to consider with their freshman play-callers.
Teams used to insist that rookie quarterbacks weren’t ready to lead the team to victory. When the Cincinnati Bengals selected Carson Palmer with all the first overall pick in the 2003 draft, they hailed him because their new franchise player. Yet the following season, Palmer never once still left the sidelines. The Bengals benched their prized rookie for the entire season, thinking he would develop faster frist by watching a veteran quarterback. This was hardly unusual. Teams had long considered that rookies should be nurtured plus eased into the pros. If you threw them right into the deep end, went the conventional wisdom, they would definitely sink.
Michael Vick, the first overall pick in 2001, started just two games his rookie year. Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, and Aaron Rodgers — all highly-touted first round picks — began their own careers as spectators, too.
In recent years, however , teams are more adventurous with their new talent. In turn, more and more rookies have tested the old watch-and-learn system wrong.
Baltimore Ravens head trainer John Harbaugh surprised everyone simply by naming rookie Joe Flacco his starting quarterback prior to the 2008 period. Flacco promptly led the Ravens to the AFC championship game, falling one win shy of the Extremely Bowl. That same year, other freshman QB Matt Ryan began every game for the Atlanta Falcons and took his team to the playoffs.
Mark Sanchez followed suit in 2009 with the Nyc Jets, driving his team to the AFC title game. And this past year, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and Houston’s T. J Yates became the first rookie quarterbacks to face each other in a playoff game.
Because the AFL and NFL merged within 1970, just 11 freshman quarterbacks have started a playoff online game; six have done so since 2005.
Even QBs in whose teams failed to make the postseason have turned in sparkling rookie seasons recently. In 2010, Sam Bradford brought the particular St . Louis Rams, fresh away a one-win season, to the brink of the playoffs. And last year, number 1 pick Cam Newton obliterated the slew of rookie passing information.
In no period has this new phenomenon been more prominent than the current one. Five rookie quarterbacks started upon opening day this year. Never before acquired more than two rookie quarterbacks done so.
This year’s rookies aren’t flailing away either. Top the pack is Griffin, in whose 104. 2 passer rating — a composite measure of key moving statistics like completions, passing yards, and touchdowns — ranks second in the NFL behind only Rodgers, last year’s league MVP. In the event that Griffin keeps up the pace, he would destroy the record for the highest rookie passer rating ever. On top of that, his 6. 7 rushing yards per attempt leads the little league — not just among quarterbacks, yet among all players.
By Total Quarterback Rating — a more nuanced version of traverser rating created by ESPN — the best three rookie passers (Luck, Griffin, and Wilson) all rank within the top 11 league-wide. And even lesser-name rookies are enjoying relative success. Ryan Tannehill is turning in a good season for the struggling Miami Dolphins. And with Griffin out last week due to injury, rookie teammate Kirk Cousins picked up the win, throwing for the purpose of 329 yards and two touchdowns.
Perhaps the driving element behind this surge of rookie success is that college football has transformed in recent years to more carefully resemble the pro game. University coaches have placed an increased focus on passing, and have adopted more and more NFL-style formations and plays — in some instances, college teams have even created new tactics later appropriated their own pro counterparts. As a result, college passers now enter the league with a built/in knowledge of the playing style, letting them more seamlessly transition between the 2 levels.
As rookie quarterbacks continue to find immediate success, teams will only be more willing to toss their new draftees right into the particular fire. If Griffin, Luck, plus Wilson don’t make history this year, you can bet that, before long, another trio will accomplish the task.