Back in the stone age, when you had to watch NFL games in standard definition and Jon Gruden was a coach and not an endlessly positive color commentator, rookie quarterbacks struggled.
I know, that tale is hard to believe after watching Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton as rookies, but before this decade most rookie quarterbacks either sat and learned or they played poorly. Competent rookies like Ben Roethlisberger and Dan Marino were rare. Now it's an era in which Tampa Bay's Mike Glennon can post an 83.9 rating (11th best all time among rookie quarterbacks with at least 200 passes) and promptly get benched because it isn't good enough.
Highly drafted rookie quarterbacks are all expected to be Newton, throwing for 4,000 yards as a rookie and starting their path to greatness right away. That's why it's startling to hear Jacksonville and Oakland legitimately talking about sitting their rookie quarterbacks.
"(W)e do feel good about where Blake's at, but we feel like this time that he has under Chad, a year to develop, will be really good in the end result," Bradley said.
Meanwhile, ESPN reported that Raiders coach Dennis Allen is fully committed to Matt Schaub, and it would take something "catastrophic" for second-round pick Derek Carr to start this year.
The Raiders' decision makes sense. Allen is battling to save his job and if Carr comes in and stinks, he's not going to be around to witness the fruit of the growing pains anyway. And there's just not as much pressure on a team to start a second-round pick, even a quarterback.
The three first-round quarterbacks will be expected to play. The Browns and Vikings have given lip service to Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater having to earn the starting jobs, but that seems hollow. Anyone would bet on them starting Week 1. I do buy that the Jaguars want Bortles to sit a while. That's probably the best move, and Bradley has the job security to execute it. Bortles is still a bit raw, and Jacksonville has to be thinking about the long term, not winning another game or two in 2014 at the risk of their new quarterback's development.
But how is that going to play in Jacksonville? A record number of fans didn't show up at the team's rookie camp because they wanted to see the man who will back up Henne. There will be immense pressure to play the third overall pick of the draft. We'll see if the Jaguars can even make it to Week 1 before ditching their sit-and-learn plan.
Giving a rookie quarterback some time to learn the NFL game is probably the wise move. But sometimes even the wisest plans get thrown out the window, especially when your other option is Chad Henne or Matt Schaub.
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