It is difficult to determine when “Welcome to the N.F.L.” memory officially occurred for Sam Darnold. But the proof of his arrival was clear on Wednesday that Darnold, Jets rookie quarterback, trudged through the team’s wardrobe with a thick black boot on his right foot.
Damage – a footstool – has been considered to be smaller and will probably only cost him a start. But the veil that was added to a devastation in four matches in its latest game, Darnold, the third overall draft from all of Southern California, shows the well-known characters of N.F.L. rookie blues.
Even though they showed shorter blink of success, the early returns have not been pretty. At the end of September, all four Darnold of the Jets, Baker Mayfield in Cleveland Browns, Josh Rosen from Arizona Cardinals and Josh Allen from Buffalo Bills began. Six weeks later each has a lost record and a quarterback rating among the six lowest in the league. Two have been injured, and two have seen their offensive coordinators fired.
In other words, much hype has been replaced with a lot of yuck.
“I was a big fan of this class,” Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout and now a NFL Network Analyst, said. “For me, Darnold, Rosen and Mayfield, I thought all three of the guys would come in and be ready to roll. I’m surprised.”
Such results should not come as a total shock. Rookie quarterbacks have historically fought, and it includes some of the best (Elway, Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman). Hopped from college football to N.F.L. according to former Dallas Cowboys vice president of player staff Gil Brandt, is equivalent to being a beginner at high school and then undergoing studies at MIT
“What they see in college is just a skeleton of all the different things they see in the NFL “says Brandt, now an analyst for NFL.com and SiriusXM.
There are several examples of current starting quarters who fought in their rookie season just to recover and find consistency next year: Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky, Los Angeles Rams, Jared Goff, and Philadelphia Eagles & # 39; Carson Wentz. There is also the case of Patrick Mahomes, who sat in the bench as a beginner for Kansas City Chiefs, to appear as a most valuable player candidate as a starter this year.
But none of these players, despite the high draft selection, came with the immediate pressure that surrounded this group of quarterbacks. Including Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (elected 32th overall) was the first time in the modern era that five quarterbacks had played during the first three weeks of his rookie season.
Now question some wisdom in these decisions.
Phil Savage, a former N.F.L. General Director and Chief Executive of Senior Bowl said that there was so much attention placed at quarterbacks at college, many months before the draft, that it was likely to pivot opinions about their readiness and ability.
“I always say you do not scare your eyes with your eyes,” said Savage, now an analyst for SiriusXM. He added: “I thought as a group that it was a foursome that was a little overhyped, a little oversold. I thought every guy had a hole or a shortcoming and everyone needed some incubation time.”
The easiest identifiable common thread between all these quarterbacks? They are on bad teams. Therefore, most analysts are willing to give them a pass on their poor game out of the gate. But they are still waiting for the results to match hype.
“There are moments with all these guys where you see it,” Jeremiah said. “I think you will see these guys take off next season.”
Here’s a closer look at what the four best rookie quarterbacks have done:
But after that debut, Browns lost five to six and fired their head coach and offensive coordinator. Mayfield has played with a injured ankle, endured a brutal hit to the helmet and has resisted a consistent bump, with 22 sacks in seven games.
Despite this, Mayfield managed to keep his touchdown pass (10) over the number of interceptions he threw (7). While Browns is the sixth in the league in losing passes, Mayfield’s skill rate is the best of the four rookies (60.0), and it’s also his adjusted laps per attempt (6.33), still ranking 33th among quarterbacks with at least 10 tries.
Now Browns is looking for a new coach, and Jeremiah thinks their focus should be on finding someone who can marry his young quarterback. For a blueprint he said to see what Rams did to replace Jeff Fisher with Sean McVay, who has done wonders for Goff.
Sam DARNOLD, Jets
Darnold was thrown right into the deep end, making his N.F.L. debut on “Monday Night Football” on the road in Detroit. But he managed to make a disastrous start (throwing a pick-6 on his first try) into a showcase of his maturity and resilience. Teammates praise his unflappability, and at week 6 he seemed to have found his track and was in line for 3,500 meters and 24 touchdowns.
In the last three weeks, his achievements have been cranking and the more unfortunate forecasts from the time of the draft – that he was mistaken and mistaken – began to resurrect. The fall struck a nadir in Miami, where Darnold, fought to trap several poor snaps, struck four interceptions and sustained the damage that forced him to the bench on Sunday.
His league number is at a league high 14, four more than any other quarterback in the NFL. Note that Peyton Manning threw a league-high 28 interceptions in 1998, his first year. However, Darnold said after the match that he felt he had forced too many throws and Jens offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates echoed that rookie still needed to learn to take what the defense gave him.
“It’s kind of like baseball,” said Bates. “When the climb is coming, you have to hit it out of the park. But it’s not every height.”
Taking a couple of weeks (the jets have a bye next week) to load may not be the worst for Darnold, the youngest quarterback to start week 1 since 1970. Jetsna still claims that Darnold’s best deal for him can be his mental toughness and they do not want to see his confidence continuing to meet.
“We’ve talked about it since the training camp,” Bates said. “One of the things Sam does really well, he dries off the play and moves on to the next. He must continue to grow in it.”
JOSH ALLEN, Buffalo Bills
Bills chose the heavily armed Allen from Wyoming with number 7 thinking that he could be comparable to Eagles Wentz, another long quarterback from a small city and a football program far beyond the North Dakota State.
But halfway through his rookie season, Allen is a mystery. He has played in five games and looked shaky. His skill rate (54.0) and meters per attempt (5.99) is the lowest in the league, and he was dismissed 21 times in just 160 dropbacks. Certainly, some of it can be blamed on offensive bills, but Allen takes an average of 3.15 seconds to throw the ball, the slowest number in the league.
Allen’s best performance came against Minnesota Vikings, but he was most impressive with his feet. He encrypted for a 10-yard touchdown run on opening operation, diving head first for pylon to earn the score. He then rushed over line-back Anthony Barr on a third run to get a first down, show off his athleticism and jumped over the pile on the finish line to score in his second rushing touchdown. That victory gave Bill’s fans a lot of hope.
Jeremiah said that Allen needed the most spice of one of the rookies that was taken in the top 10. “I was at the Laddare game,” says Jeremiah, referring to Allen’s first start, in week 2. “You see the great arm. You saw the athletic ability. “
But Allen also fought five times and threw two interceptions. “He was just not ready yet,” Jeremiah said.
JOSH ROSEN, Arizona Cardinals
Timing of Rosen’s professional debut could hardly have been worse. Needed to share for the fierce Sam Bradford with just over four minutes left in the Cardinals Week 3 match against Chicago Bears, he threw a hint at his sixth attempt to seal Bears 16-14 win.  Like Darnold and Mayfield, he joined a team struggling to score. Cardinals kicked offensive co-ordinator Mike McCoy on October 19 after a 45-10 loss for Denver Broncos. In that game, Rosen threw three missions while the cardinals received only 223 total turns. At that time, Arizona was ranked last in N.F.L. in points per game, rally tournaments per game, third percent and first drops per game.
“When you talk about being athletic and throwing the ball, you’ll see him saying the guy will be pretty good.” Brandt said. “And then suddenly they hit that wall and it takes them a while.”
Known for his swagger and self-confidence – pictures of his freshman years showed him a bubble bath in his dormitory – he rarely sees a pitch he does not feel he can do. He has the league’s fifth highest aggression rate, or the percentage of passes thrown with a defender in the recipient’s farm.
But while Rosen’s accuracy data remains an ongoing work, there are signs of improvement and blinking of certain intangible leadership qualities. In his latest game, Rosen led a 73-yard unit with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds left to beat the San Francisco 49ers. He finished 12 of 18 passes for 150 meters in the fourth quarter while becoming the youngest quarterback in the Super Bowl era to lead his team back from a double-digit deficit in the last period. And in huddle at the final run he told his teammates: “We are about to win this game.” It may have been an exploration thrown in there as well.
Victor Mather contributed to research.