Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Rookie Quarterbacks Get Their Shot
In the past NFL franchises have brought rookie quarterbacks along slowly. The idea was to have them sit behind a veteran quarterback for at least a year learning the game from the sidelines. In 2012 that old school philosophy is out the window. The recent success of Cam Newton and Andy Dalton has NFL teams throwing young studs into the fire on day one. Andrew Luck and RGIII were expected to get the nod, but there have been some surprises added to the list of rookie starters around the league.
Brandon Weedon was handed the keys to the offense with the expectation that Trent Richardson would be available to carry some of the work load. Now that Richardson will be sidelined with a knee injury there will be added pressure on Weedon to make something out of nothing. Although he's mature for a rookie (28 years old) I don't think Cleveland has enough weapons around him to make a significant impact. Look for him to struggle early and if he's not careful Colt McCoy might just win his job back.
Ryan Tannehill was the talk of the 2012 NFL draft. Everyone marveled at his athletic ability and tremendous upside, but they questioned his body of work. Tannehill, a converted wide receiver only started one full season at Texas A&M and looked average against high caliber opponents. It's interesting that the Miami Dolphins have seen enough in training camp to make him the starter in week 1. Not sure if he looked impressive, or if the other quarterbacks looked very mediocre. My guess is they felt he couldn't do any worse than Matt Moore or David Garrard so why not let him get his feet wet? I think he'll do better than Weedon, but not much to write home about.
Then there's the Pete Carroll experiment. Pete surprised everyone when he took Russell Wilson in the 3rd round and again when he included Wilson in the starting QB competition. Wilson has excelled with the 2nd unit and will get his chance with the 1st unit on Friday. Conventional wisdom says he will struggle a bit and Matt Flynn will ultimately be the opening day starter, but if Wilson keeps playing with poise and making big plays Pete Carroll might just go the other way. This one is too close to call, but if Wilson performs well and Flynn continues to look solid I'm happy either way.