The expectation from every NFL fanbase is simple. Fans want their teams to win now. Going into a season that’s being called a “rebuilding year” is always tough on fans. The realization that your team will struggle to find its way to a .500 record is never easy to make, and impatience often get the best of us. Even so, rookie quarterbacks in the NFL today often deserve our patience.
A year ago, there were some high profile quarterbacks taken early in the draft by teams looking for franchise quarterbacks. The Bengals and the Panthers both fell in love with their young guns while the Titans watched their rookie sit on the bench. In a poor situation, Blaine Gabbert was thrown into the starting job head first in week 3, and he didn’t find anything resembling rhythm until late in the season. The good news for Blaine Gabbert, and any rookie quarterback that fails to impress after a year of work, is that I give free passes to almost all rookie QBs that are forced to start early in their careers.
Last year the big disappointment of the quarterback class was without a doubt Blaine Gabbert (although Christian Ponder didn’t exactly shine), and I fully expect that to be the case this season with more than one rookie. Brandon Weeden will have a very difficult road to travel with the Browns lethargic offense, and Ryan Tannehill has an uphill battle to claim the 2nd string job in Miami.
Even if we look at the first pick of the 2012 draft, Andrew Luck, we see a scenario that doesn’t bode well for the young quarterback. The Colts have very little talent around Luck, and their defense is nothing to be proud of. Opposing teams will be teeing off on Luck all season long simply because he’ll likely be playing with a deficit more often than not.
As we get closer to the beginning of the NFL season, expectations around the NFL will be at the high water mark. Rookie quarterbacks have their work cut out for them in adjusting to the speed of the NFL, and when you toss on a bad team to learn with, you’ll get some poor results. If your team is starting a rookie quarterback this season, and he’s not performing, don’t worry. It’s all part of growing up in the NFL. Cut the young guns some slack.