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Thursday, November 29, 2012
Throwing caution to the rookie QB wind?

By Mike Sando

Here in the NFC West, we like to ease our young quarterbacks into the starting role by having them drop back to pass as many times as possible in their very first starts.


For example, when Sam Bradford made his NFL debut with the St. Louis Rams, in a game against Arizona during which the point differential never exceeded seven, the team "limited" him to 57 dropbacks. That was the most in the NFL over the last five seasons for a quarterback making his first NFL start, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

More recently, in Week 12, the Arizona Cardinals "eased" rookie Ryan Lindley into the role by limiting him to 54 dropbacks during a 31-17 home defeat to the Rams. That was the second-most dropbacks in the NFL over the last five seasons for a QB making his first NFL start.

The previous high, 52, was set by current Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb when Kolb was with the Philadephia Eagles.

By now, you realize I'm joking about efforts to bring along young QBs slowly. Change the word "eased" to "shoved with both hands between the shoulder blades" and you'll be nearer the truth. Bradford and Lindley combined for seven interceptions in their debuts.

Seattle's Russell Wilson had 43 dropbacks in his starting debut this season. San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick was not a rookie when he made his starting debut in Week 11. He had 26 dropbacks in that game.

Lindley's 27 first-half dropbacks against the Rams trailed only Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck for most in a first half during Week 12. Lindley completed 17 of 24 passes in the half, but the Rams returned one of his throws for a touchdown. The Cardinals' two pick-sixes for the game accounted for the final scoring margin.