Now that’s it’s been confirmed that Johnny Manziel won’t start Week 1 in Cleveland, the odds are significantly better that we’ll have our first full regular-season NFL week without a rookie starting quarterback since 2007.
There’s still a chance Blake Bortles gets the Week 1 nod in Jacksonville, but the Jaguars have said they want to bring their top pick along slowly. Matt Cassel remains the starter ahead of Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota, and Matt Schaub is locked in ahead of Derek Carr in Oakland.
Barring injury, nobody else is even a threat to start.
Let’s review how rookies have managed to be represented at quarterback at least once a week dating back more than half a decade:
- Geno Smith started all 16 games for the Jets last season, and he and EJ Manuel both started Week 1. They did not share bye weeks.
- Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill all started complete seasons in 2012, and Robert Griffin III and Brandon Weeden both started Week 1.
- Andy Dalton and Cam Newton started all 16 games in 2011. They didn’t have a common bye week.
- In 2010, Sam Bradford started all 16 games. When he was off on a bye in Week 9, Colt McCoy started for Cleveland.
- Mark Sanchez was a Week 1 starter with the Jets in 2009. He missed one week due to injury and one due to a bye. On that Week 9 bye, Matthew Stafford made a start for Detroit. When he was hurt in Week 14, Josh Freeman started for Tampa Bay and Keith Null started for St. Louis.
- Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan started all 16 games in 2008, without sharing a bye.
- A rookie didn’t start in 2007 until Trent Edwards finally got a shot in Week 4. That year, no rookies started in Week 6 (Buffalo’s bye), Week 9 or Week 10 (Edwards was injured both weeks). Beyond that, John Beck, Brock Berlin, Matt Moore, Troy Smith and JaMarcus Russell made some starts, along with Edwards.
So we haven’t been without a Week 1 rookie starting quarterback since 2007, and we haven’t been without at least one rookie starting pivot for a full week of the regular season since Week 10 of that year. In other words, we’ve had 109 consecutive weeks with at least one rookie starter, but that streak is in jeopardy now.