Friday, June 20, 2014

are rookie quarterbacks automobiles?

A recent ESPN article about rookie quarterbacks asks why a team wouldn’t start one of the three drafted in the 2014 first round immediately. The author goes so far as to analogize these rookies with a new car: you don’t let the car sit in the garage until it gets better. If you’re brain is functioning at all today, you should see the misguided thinking there.

Maybe a better analogy would be: you don’t ride a bike with flat tires. A finely tuned bicycle with all componentry dialed in is much the same as a fully prepared quarterback, rookie or veteran.

Obviously then, why would you just throw a rookie quarterback to the wolves after a short offseason? I’m not a football player, coach, strategist, or anything associated with professional football, other than an average, somewhat fair weather fan. Note that I should do a piece defending my stance as a self-described fair weather fan.

A lot of things can happen from the minute a draft concludes to opening kickoff, that would prevent a rookie QB from starting. From injury, contract disputes, dickhead behavior, to laziness, your rookie QB may not be ready. Whatif his surrounding team is crappy? What’s up Jags?

Going from college to the pros is a huge transition: it’s faster and more complex. Take any person, a world class athlete or a world class intellectual, and when things get faster and/or more complex, there is a period of adaptation. The length of that adaptation and how it affects the rest of the team is the measure we’re looking for. Obviously, a shorter, less adverse adaptation would signify a quarterback that is positioned to succeed in the NFL over the long term.

How many rookie quarterbacks come out in their rookie season and blow minds? Maybe that’s not the expectation, but not a whole lot. Recent success stories include Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Andrew Luck is a very smart dude that just looks really fucked up, but he has a turnover problem. Russell Wilson is a product of his system that doesn’t ask a whole lot of him, and he’s quite handsome. Though you will not be soon confusing those guys for Manning, Brady, or Rodgers.

It will be interesting to see these guys improve as their teams lean more (Wilson) and less (Luck) heavily on them to win games.

Often times there is no question about plugging a first rounder right into the starting lineup at any other position, and I don’t see why a quarterback should really be judged any differently. If you're ready, you're ready. Though with quarterback as arguably the most important position on the field, playing with your expensive new toy just because it is an expensive new toy is not the best strategy for sustainable success.

It can be telling though when that shiny, new toy is the best tool for the job, meaning the other QBs on the roster are seen as inferior compared to a first rounder fresh out of college. Lol, Vikings and Jags.

Note that Aaron Rodgers sat behind one of the best QBs of all times, and he is now the greatest QB of all time, just sayin’.

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