Welcome to a whole new segment on DBN, appropriately titled, A Brownie For Your Thoughts. This is a segment that will be ran once or twice a week and will talk about more off topic football stories. An example would be my uniform fanpost of a week or so ago. I will talk about an idea that has ran across my ever free flowing imagination, speak my own opinion on the subject and ask for all of yours in the comments. I hope you all enjoy it and receive it well!
Now, the title Rookie Post, is an allegoric title. While this may be my own rookie post, it is also a post on how rookies should be brought up in the NFL. Should rookies be thrown in or should they be taught on the sidelines for a period of time? Maybe there is no control when a rookie starts in a NFL game. I'll examine the possibilities...
I have thought of three ways a rookie can be brought up in the NFL, but only two of them can be considered valid choices by a head coach. "Plug and Play" Rookie starter, "Apprentice Rookie starter and "Injury Forced" Rookie starter.
1. "Plug and Play" Rookie Starter - A "Plug and Play" starter, or PaP for short, is what I consider to be when a coach decides to start a rookie in the very first game of the season. Examples of this can be seen with Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions or Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets. A lot goes into a PaP starter. How well did they perform in college? How desperate is the team for production and notoriety? Will the rookie get injured?
To save space, we'll just use Matthew Stafford for example purposes.
How well did Stafford perform in college?
How desperate is the team for production and notoriety? Detroit Lions 0 - 16 in 2008. Check.
Will the rookie get injured? Stafford missed two games due to a knee injury. Sadly, Check.
PaP conclusion: Essentially, Stafford matches every boundary for a PaP starter, which he was amazingly. The Lions however, are 1 - 7. Stafford has a 5/12 TD to INT ratio and has a 55.9 rating. Now, many other factors play into this but ultimately, a PaP is a high risk/ high reward starter. So far, Stafford has not played out for the Lions. Then again, it is only Week 9 of the 2009 season. Personally, I've never been one for a PaP starter. I feel like you're throwing them to the "Lions" (Do - Do - Do - Chzzz). I agree more with the next type of Rookie starter...
"Apprentice" Starter - This one is short, sweet and opinionated. An "App" starter is one who sits by on the sidelines, learns from successful or smart veterans and is inserted into a starting role when prepared or at least more knowledgeable than a PaP starter. How can this be proven? It really can't; this is a low risk/ high reward approach. You don't know if any factors will change from a PaP starter but what's it going to hurt? Your rookie learns NFL experience before he experiences it. It can only help.
Let's look at Josh Freeman, another 1st Round rookie QB starter. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0 - 7 until Freeman was named the starter for Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers. The first game Freeman was named starter, the Bucs won for the first time in the 2009 season! Freeman has a 3/1 TD to INT ratio and has a satisfying 83.2 rating. It's only been one game though so, really, who knows. Freeman seems to prove my un - provable point though.
App conclusion - LOW RISK/ HIGH REWARD. While you really don't satisfy the fan base or FO by holding back a high profile rookie, you let them learn from seasoned veterans who already know how to handle themselves in a NFL game. I see no real negatives to this approach all except for the negative notoriety. That will change though, once that studying rookie starts winning games.
"Injury Forced" Starter - This one can't be controlled by anyone. More specifically, this type of starter comes about when the starter above them goes down with an injury for at least one game, forcing the 2nd string rookie to start. This type can't be proven either since it can't be chosen. This one won't have a conclusion, just an explanation and example. It's basically a spontaneous split of the two "coach option" starters. As the 2nd string rookie, you're an App Rookie. Once the veteran above you goes down, said rookie morphs into a PaP Rookie, you have to go in regardless of knowledge or preparedness.
We'll use Kaluka Maiava for this example. Maiava had to come in for D' Qwell Jackson during the Pittsburgh Steelers game and started against the Green Bay Packers the week after. In both games combined, Maiava had a total of 10 tackles and one forced fumble. For an inside linebacker, those are decent stats for a span of two games. But who knows if he was even ready for the unexpectedness of Jackson's injury (he shouldn't have been, unless he planned it.) Maybe he'll get better challenging fellow rookie LB David Veikune for a starter spot or working beside veteran David Bowens. Who knows.
Well, there you go. My first ever post on my new segment. If you want, tell me how I did, critique me so the next post can be better. But please, above all else, TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL. Do you agree with these three types of rookies? Are there more types? Less? Please argue, agree and discuss. Thanks for reading and... GO BROWNS!
P.S. I will also be running the Power Rankings post which collects the Cleveland Browns power rankings from notable websites around the internet. It will usually be posted on Tuesdays or Wednesdays with "Brownie Thoughts" usually on Thursdays or Fridays.