Should Rookie Quarterbacks Start or Sit? Analyzing the NFL's Murkiest Question

Mark HauserCorrespondent IIFebruary 17, 2009

How many rookie quarterbacks throughout the history of the NFL were thrown to the wolves and did not come out unscathed?  How much can a quarterback learn from watching on the sidelines?  Would he learn quicker if was on the field?

Given the speed of the NFL game and the complexity of the offenses and defenses as compared to college football, should you break in your quarterback gradually?

What if you have a lousy offensive line, few offensive weapons, and you spent $6 billion dollars on your No. 1 draft pick?  Should you risk him getting injured and having him lose his confidence right away?

I could go on with these type of questions and examples of how franchise-type quarterbacks have done in the history of the NFL, but I think you get the point.

If you polled the 10 greatest coaches in the history of the NFL (me, you, Vince Lombardi, and seven others—I was including armchair coaches), you would probably get 10 different answers on how to handle the development of highly-touted rookie quarterbacks.

We could all point to Hall of Fame quarterbacks and unsuccessful quarterbacks to back up our theories.  Unfortunately, other people could point to good examples to disprove our theories.

No matter how much the experts on ESPN and other channels (most of whom never coached) pretend that they know the best way to develop rookie quarterbacks, the bottom line is they don't.  Each quarterback has to be handled as an individual, and with so many unknown variables and unforeseen circumstances, it is just a guess.

It does, however, make for interesting conversation for all the know-it-alls out there.  (Not that you are one of them, of course.)