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Rookie QBs getting crash course in up-and-down life of NFL

Rookie QBs getting crash course in up-and-down life of NFL

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No one said this was going to be easy, rookie.

Playing quarterback in the NFL is no simple task, and this year's class of newcomers is getting a crash course — filled with sacks, interceptions and losses — in how difficult it is to immediately succeed under center.

Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets' Zach Wilson and New England's Mac Jones have started since Week 1. San Francisco's Trey Lance, Chicago's Justin Fields and Houston's Davis Mills have stepped in during the past few weeks. And they've all experienced varying degrees of struggles.

No, they're not in college anymore.

"What's happening to the rookies, in my opinion, is normal," Jets coach Robert Saleh said. "What happens otherwise is abnormal. Most rookies struggle in their first couple of years. You can go through the history of all the great ones."

True, Peyton Manning had a hideous rookie season. So did Troy Aikman and John Elway. Aaron Rodgers had to wait on Brett Favre. Tom Brady needed an injury to Drew Bledsoe to get on the field in his second year — but he ended up winning the Super Bowl. And six more after that. Patrick Mahomes wasn't a full-time starter until his second season.

"There's three things that nowadays in college that some of these guys come to our NFL and they haven't done," Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "No. 1, they haven't taken a snap under center, so that's a change for them. No. 2, they don't call a cadence. You think that's a little thing, but that's a huge thing to be able to bark out the cadence, help you out. Then, they don't call a play in the huddle. They're looking off to the side or the coach is changing the play.

"So, just the three most basic things that a quarterback does, not all the quarterbacks that come into the league are doing it."

That's sometimes forgotten when Justin Herbert steps in and lights up the league. Or Kyler Murray two years ago.

"There's an adjustment all of these guys have to go through," Saleh said. "And what you're seeing out of this group is probably more of the norm than the Herberts of the world."

Here's a look at the six rookie quarterbacks currently starting:


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