Young NFL quarterbacks get their chance to shine

Young guns: Colts QB Andrew Luck (left) with the Redskins' Robert Griffin III after a preseason game.
Young guns: Colts QB Andrew Luck (left) with the Redskins' Robert Griffin III after a preseason game. (NICK WASS / AP)
Posted: September 06, 2012

It's just not the year of quarterback. It's the year of the young quarterback.

Youth and inexperience have taken over the most important position in the NFL.

Ten starting quarterbacks this season have been in the league one year or less, with five teams letting rookies run the show. It's an unprecedented move in the NFL, where experience is a favored trait for those who handle the ball most.

No more.

"One of the most astounding statistics that I've seen in football in the last 25 years is the amount of young quarterbacks that are now playing early, but playing well," said Jon Gruden, a former coach and current TV analyst.

Never have so many teams taken chances with so little experience at quarterback.

This year's group of up-and-comers includes rookies Robert Griffin III in Washington, Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, Ryan Tannehill in Miami, Brandon Weeden in Cleveland, and Russell Wilson in Seattle. They join second-year starters Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville, Jake Locker in Tennessee, Cam Newton in Carolina and Christian Ponder in Minnesota.

Here comes Tebow. Get ready for Tim Tebow and the Wildcat.

After months of intrigue surrounding what exactly Tebow's role will be in the New York Jets' offense, the backup quarterback will see some action in the tricky formation in the regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

"I think if we don't, everybody's going to be like, 'Wait a second. You guys have been saying things about this Wildcat and we haven't even seen one snap of it,' " coach Rex Ryan said with a laugh. "But, sure we're going to run some Wildcat, there's no doubt."

Ready for Manning. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin expects to see the same old Peyton Manning when Pittsburgh travels to Denver for the season opener on Sunday night.

Tomlin believes Manning will "be at his very best" while playing in a game for the first time since Indianapolis lost to the New York Jets in the wild-card round of the playoffs after the 2010 season.

The 11-time Pro Bowler missed all of last season after undergoing neck surgery and landed in Denver after being released by the Colts.

Haden awaits punishment. Cornerback Joe Haden, one of the Cleveland Browns' best players, is awaiting word from the NFL on a possible four-game suspension for failing a drug test. Browns president Mike Holmgren revealed in a radio interview that Haden has already had his appeal hearing.

"Now it's up to someone else," Holmgren said on the radio show. "And we don't know."

Moving the chains. Quarterback David Garrard has been released by the Miami Dolphins, leaving Matt Moore as the veteran backup to Tannehill. . . . Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie restructured his contract Tuesday to remain with the team. . . . A marketing agent for T.J. Conley says that the Jets have released the punter five days before the team's opener against the Bills.

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.

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