5 Rookies That Will Struggle in First NFL Preseason Game
The 2012 NFL preseason gets underway in earnest with six games on Thursday, and among the players who will be taking the field are any number of rookies who will be seeing the first game action of their young careers.
Some of those players will undoubtedly fare better than others, and it's important not to make too much of what could be limited action in a game that doesn't count.
With that said though, there are some reasons to believe that for the following handful of rookies Thursday's debuts may be best forgotten as soon as possible.
Robert Griffin, QB, Washington Redskins (at BUF)
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The Washington Redskins certainly hope that quarterback Robert Griffin will go on to a long and storied NFL career, especially given the considerable price that the team paid to move up in the 2012 NFL draft and select the Heisman Trophy winner.
However, as The Washington Examiner reports, Griffin has struggled with holding the ball too long in training camp, and that could lead to a long day against an improved Buffalo Bills defensive front that now features defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.
It's just one game, Redskins fans. As long as he emerges healthy any progress is positive progress, and maybe looking out his ear hole once or twice will help to motivate Griffin through his progressions more rapidly.
Mike Adams, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers (at PHI)
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The Pittsburgh Steelers took significant steps to address their offensive line in April's draft, using their first two selections on All-American guard David DeCastro of Stanford and Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams.
Adams could be in for tough sledding protecting quarterback Ben Roetlisberger's blind side.
Not only will Adams be facing a "wide nine" defensive scheme he's never seen before, but he'll be doing so against defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin, who combined for 29 sacks last year and have a combined four Pro Bowl nods between them.
Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. PIT)
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Mike Adams isn't the only rookie that might have a rough go of it Thursday night in "The Battle of Pennsylvania."
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox will also be making his National Football League debut, and the former Mississippi State standout has impressed in camp to this point.
Granted, the Steelers' offensive front will feature a pair of rookies in the game, but the unit is anchored by Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who will probably introduce Cox to the NFL rather rudely.
Melvin Ingram, OLB, San Diego Chargers (vs. GB)
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After playing defensive end at the University of South Carolina Melvin Ingram is making the transition to outside linebacker with the San Diego Chargers, so some growing pains are to be expected.
So, Ingram's "reward" for being a quick study to this point is that he gets to square off against quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a Green Bay offense that regularly makes grizzled veterans look like, well, rookies.
Gee, thanks coach.
Alson Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears (vs. DEN)
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South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was the Chicago Bears' second-round selection in the 2012 NFL draft, and the 6'3" youngster has drawn rave reviews so far in training camp, with Bears cornerback Charles Tillman recently telling The Chicago Sun-Times that Jeffery could be a "Brandon Marshall in the making"
However, Jeffery may be hard-pressed to carry that momentum over into Chicago's preseason opener against the Denver Broncos through no fault of his own.
Jeffery will probably take the field with the second-team Thursday evening, and it can be difficult to continue picking up steam when you're trying to haul in errant passes from backup quarterbacks.
It could be worse. At least the Bears brought in Jason Campbell in the offseason.
Otherwise it would be Josh McCown knuckleballs, and those will get your block knocked off.