View Full Version : Sitting rookies: does it hurt or help their progress?

Fire Arians
09-13-2011, 01:36 PM
I always hear things about rookies spending their first year or 2 on the bench to learn behind the veterans, but does that hurt them in the long run?

From the outside looking in, it doesn't seem like it matters much. Tmmons and Hood looked lost and out of place even after spending their first years on the bench, because no amount of practice will prepare you for the actual intensity of the game. In fact, they didn't grow into their positions until they actually had their baptism by fire in actual game situations.

Not giving them play time will give them no experience of the actual intensity of the game, and having a few years of making the roster 'just because they are a #1-3 pick' might make them grow complacent, knowing they'll make the team. That same complacency could make them lazy and fail to meet their potential.

Every first-time starter, whether a rookie, or 2nd-3rd year player will have growing pains. So if there's a talented rookie that may be the long-term fix why not let them start earlier? Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders had their growing pains but made huge strides within their first year of playing, would they be what they are now if they were still rotting on the bench, then all of a sudden asked to play 3 years after they were drafted? I feel the only way to get rookies or young players ready to play is to freakin' play them. So with that said we should also start getting curtis brown some work in the nickel.

09-13-2011, 01:43 PM
I'm in favor of the trial by fire - you don't know until you try it out. Even when we were getting our tails whipped by Bmore I would have given those young guys playing time. There was no reasons our starters should have stayed in the game with 10 minutes left - aside from the injury perspective that would have made quite the statement.

No finer example is Ziggy Hood - the guy should at the very LEAST see a healthy rotation (in my mind the guy should be in at least half the time - if not all - they are already trying this with Farrior ((with Foote which is mind numbing)) Heyward needs to get some reps in - what if one of these prospects caught fire? We wouldn't know because we've been bucking the age thing for a few years now - if we struggle against Seattle defensively there is no shame in trying something different - pride be damned.

09-13-2011, 01:50 PM
that said - I am not brow beating the vets - I started saying there was a pattern because of

1. Having to come back against Bmore in divisional
2. Letting the jets roar back in the AFC champ game
3. Getting owned in the SB

BUT, BUT - I've calmed down a little and reserve judgement because after all - it is a new season. I for one will only be half-satisfied until we beat Bmore (and NE would be nice) - aside from Seattle - we HAVE to win the games with Texans and Colts, Tenn and Jacksonville - need to rack up some AFC wins now for potential tie-breakers down the road

If we can rack up some wins with maybe only 1 additional loss before New England we should be good to go

Here's to hoping Baltimore is in the process of getting too full of themselves . . .

09-13-2011, 01:54 PM
7-3 before the bye sound about right? I'm thinking losses at Houston and home against NE. If we can get at least that (8-2 would be much nicer) the rest of the schedule on paper sets up nicely for us.

09-13-2011, 02:09 PM
The front office was getting on the staff about that exact thing last year...Or Pouncy may have sat.....Ziggy was considered a bust till he got to play everydown.

09-13-2011, 02:19 PM
Most of the rookies do usually see some playing time in their rookie campaigns. Last year, everybody but Chris Scott and Crezdon Butler played their positions at some point during a game, and Butler at least got to contribute on special teams. The year before, Ziggy Hood, Mike Wallace, David Johnson, Joe Burnett, and others got playing time. Before that, Mendenhall, Sweed, etc., saw playing time. Etc. So the rookies do get to play in sub packages, usually toward the middle of the season. But you have to keep in mind that some positions and schemes are easier to pick up than others, and some players are quicker learners. For example, it's a lot easier to start on the offensive line than it is to start at CB, especially for mid-round talents. The Steelers didn't draft a Patrick Peterson this year, so I'm not surprised by what we saw in week one in terms of the young CBs. I don't recall seeing Keenan Lewis at all, although I saw Cortez Allen on special teams (Curtis Brown was inactive). But I'm sure they WILL get their playing time as the season progresses.

09-13-2011, 03:14 PM
I think if the veterans they are sitting behind are still producing, it's fine. But in the case of Aaron Smith (Hood), Jonathan Scott (Gilbert), Bryant Mcfadden and William Gay (Lewis and Brown), maybe even Ryan Clark (I think Warren could play some safety), it's only hurting the team at this point. IMO, the upside of the young'ns far outweighs the production of the veterans in these situation, and I don't think their "rookie mistakes" are going to be any worse for the team than the mistakes the veterans are making at this point.

Particularly Mcfadden and Scott, I refuse to believe Keenan Lewis can play any worse than Mcfadden right now, especially since this is his third year, or that Gilbert's inexperience is going to make Jonathan Scott a better option at LT right now.

09-13-2011, 03:39 PM
I agree whole heartedly with PhantomJB93 except Ryan Clark. I think he is asked to do alot more than we know because of how Lebeau uses Troy. Just my opinion but Clark is good for our scheme.

09-13-2011, 04:25 PM
I say play the rookies. Let Allen start instead of McFadden. Younger, faster, harder hitter. better coverage.....and whats sad is that the coaches know this, but maybe Cortez doesnt fully know the defense yet.....If i were Tomlin Id cut McFadden quicky and throw in Allen and take my chances.

09-13-2011, 04:54 PM
You people...wow. Start previously undrafted, current free agent Donovan Warren over Ryan Clark? Start completely raw, hardly any lifetime experience Cortez Allen over Bryant McFadden? Can we please wait at least another couple of weeks before we officially announce that every starter on the team sucks and needs to be replaced by their backups? And Gilbert can't replace Scott now because he has to start at RT.

09-13-2011, 06:44 PM
IMO, 1st and 2nd round picks should be drafted with the expectation that they will contribute immediately. I know that for various reasons that might not workout but it should be an exception not the rule. I would like to see Worilds get some snaps working on the same side as either Woodley or Harrison. It was only one game but last year against Miami he definately showed some speed coming off the corner.