Thursday, May 22, 2014

National Friday League: Free Teddy Bridgewater!

If Bridgewater is legitimate, then it may be by September he's a better quarterback right now than Matt Cassel. And if he's legitimate, I don't see any real upside to letting him sit.

Here are all quarterbacks from 2008-2012 that started at least 8 games as a rookie. I've included the QB's rookie year YPA and rating, and in parentheses is the QB's career YPA and rating.

Matt Ryan (16 starts): 7.9, 87.7 (7.1, 90.6)
Joe Flacco (16 starts):  6.9, 80.3 (6.9, 83.7)

Matthew Stafford (10 starts): 6.0, 61.0 (7.0, 83.1)
Mark Sanchez (15 starts): 6.7, 63.0 (6.5, 71.7)
Josh Freeman (9 starts): 6.4, 59.3 (6.8, 77.8)

Sam Bradford (16 starts): 6.0, 76.5 (6.3, 79.3)
Colt McCoy (8 starts): 7.1, 74.5 (6.3, 74.9)
Jimmy Clausen (10 starts): 5.2, 58.4 (hasn't thrown a pass since)

Cam Newton (16 starts): 7.8, 84.5 (7.7, 86.4)
Blaine Gabbert (10 starts): 5.4, 65.4 (5.6, 66.4)
Christian Ponder (10 starts): 6.4, 70.1 (6.4, 77.1)
Andy Dalton (16 starts): 6.6, 80.4 (7.0, 85.7)

Andrew Luck (16 starts): 7.0, 76.5 (6.8, 81.5)
Robert Griffin III (15 starts): 8.1, 102.4 (7.5, 91.5)
Ryan Tannehill (16 starts): 6.8, 76.1 (6.7, 79.1)
Brandon Weeden (15 starts): 6.5, 72.6 (6.5, 71.8)
Russell Wilson (16 starts): 7.9, 100.0 (8.2, 101.2)

Honestly, the stats mean less than the names here. You can look at this and see that every one of these QBs was largely what he was as a rookie. It's not that many of these QBs haven't improved--they have. But very few of these quarterbacks went from suck to good: they showed what they were capable of, and got better at what they could do.

There are other good quarterback that emerged during this time that didn't play or barely played their rookie years too. But it doesn't seem to me that playing early hurts a legitimate NFL starting QB, and I'm not sure we'd find that sitting for a season or two is what allows a non-legitimate NFL starting QB to develop into a legitimate NFL starting QB. It has happened, and it still does happen, that QBs sit as rookies and become great players in their second or third seasons. But I'm skeptical that there are many quarterbacks who could have become franchise quarterbacks, except they started playing too early, and then didn't become franchise quarterbacks. If a QB is ready, play him and find out what he can do.


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  2. Wow, I would not have thought the stats would be that close. Totally agree about playing him as a rookie, throw him out there and let's find out what we have. I worry that Zimmer may be impatient to win right away after waiting so long for his chance to be a head coach. Don't have any facts or quotes to base that on, just a concern until things clear up. The same things that make the Viking offense attractive for a rookie QB also play right into the strengths of a "game managing" veteran. If Zimmer thinks he can sneak into the playoffs with Cassel he may go that route, at least initially. Hopefully he looks at the big picture and lets the rookie learn on the job. Even better, Bridgewater is so good in training camp that he takes the job like Russell Wilson did in Seattle.

    1. ETR:

      Congratulations on flip-flopping on your position on this issue in less than a week. You might have a career in politics. As for Zimmer going conservative at QB, I can see that happening but I guess it depends on how Bridgewater performs in OTAs and training camp (and how Cassel performs). At least he's seen recently what happens when you go with a rookie over an established veteran (Dalton vs. Palmer in Cincy) and that turned out reasonably well for the Bengals and Marvin Lewis.

  3. If Bridgewater is as quickly coachable as the Vikings have said, then he ought to start early on in his career. So long as he's not reinforcing any bad habits he may have in game situations, he ought to develop on the field. I'm excited to see him play.