Coaches informed Vikings players that veteran Matt Cassel will start Week 1 at quarterback over rookie Teddy Bridgewater, according to FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer, and for the first time in seven years it appears no first-year players will line up under center when the NFL kicks off another season next month.
The Jaguars have said from the start No. 3 overall selection Blake Bortles will begin the season on the bench behind Chad Henne, and the Browns announced last week Brian Hoyer will man the position in first-round pick Johnny Manziel's stead. The third and final QB picked in the 2014 NFL draft's first round, Bridgewater appeared the lone remaining option to keep alive a streak that's been going since 2008.
Barring a change of heart, an injury in the final week of the preseason or Jimmy Garoppolo filming a real-life sequel to "Celtic Pride" and hiring his Eastern Illinois buddies to kidnap Tom Brady, no rookie quarterbacks will start Week 1 for the first time since 2007. Here's the list of those who did in between.
2008: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco
2009: Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez
2010: Sam Bradford
2011: Cam Newton, Andy Dalton
2012: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson
2013: E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith
Fear not, fans of first-year quarterbacks, for this does not preclude a rookie from playing in Week 1 of the NFL season. Jimmy Clausen took two snaps at the end of Carolina's 31-18 opening Sunday loss to the Giants in 2010, and then proceeded to compile a 1-9 record in 10 starts as a rookie. He was, of course, replaced by Newton, the No. 1 overall pick the following season. So, there's that.
And then there's this: Recent history suggests starting a first-round quarterback selection in Week 1 bodes well for future success, since Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker were the only No. 1 picks not named opening day starters from 2008-13.
Here are the preseason stats for this year's trio of first-round rookies compared to the projected starters.
Bortles: 28-45-435-1-0 (101.6 QB Rating)
Henne: 25-38-230-1-0 (90.9 QB Rating)
Manziel: 24-42-213-1-0 (78.8 QB Rating) and a rushing touchdown
Hoyer: 18-36-192-1-1 (63.7 QB Rating)
Bridgewater: 26-40-266-4-0 (117.3 QB Rating)
Cassel: 26-39-367-2-1 (103.3 QB Rating)
Obviously, which string those numbers came against complicates matters, but an argument could be made each rookie made his case for a starting job. Time will tell if their teams made the right decision.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Matt Cassel
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Chad Henne