METAIRIE, La. — In 2011, rookie quarterbacks took the bulk of snaps in Carolina, Jacksonville, Minnesota and Cincinnati.
In 2012, that’ll happen in Indianapolis, Washington, Cleveland, Miami and Seattle.
And nothing about that surprises New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
“I think their level of preparation is a little bit more than most guys just because of how far the game has come and the carryover from college to the NFL – what they see, what they do, what they’re responsible for, the type of coaching and all that stuff,” Brees said.
The Saints will face one of those rookie quarterbacks on Sunday when they host the Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the curtain raiser for both teams.
Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in this past April’s draft, is expected to lift the Redskins from the franchise’s lowest period in decades. And he’s expected to do it now.
Regardless of whether the talent is in the nation’s capital or not, Griffin has a heavy burden to carry.
Not that Saints interim head coach Aaron Kromer doesn’t think he’ll eventually meet the challenge.
“He is a talented guy,” Kromer said. “He took Baylor and made them into a powerhouse which they hadn’t been in a long time. When one guy can really change your program, and he has shown to do it in college, there is a good chance he could it in the National Football League.”
A season ago, Andy Dalton led Cincinnati to a 9-7 regular season record and a postseason berth in the AFC playoffs. He earned a Pro Bowl bid after becoming the first-ever rookie quarterback to start as many as eight wins and throw as many as 20 touchdowns.
Cam Newtown, meanwhile, electrified the NFL in his first season with Carolina, earning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors after setting NFL rookie records with 4,051 passing yards and 35 combined touchdowns.
Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said there’s a common trend that has developed rookie quarterbacks that has helped make them successful right out of the gate.
“What a lot of NFL coordinators are doing is like what they did with Cam Newton last year,” said Lofton, who played Newton twice while in Atlanta. “They go back and see the things that they do really well (in college) and they add that into some things so they start to feel more comfortable early on.”
Brees, who didn’t start his rookie season in San Diego, sees the same thing. In fact, he goes a step further, saying it’s not just teams with rookie quarterbacks molding the offensive styles together.
“It just seems like the style of offenses that they run in college and their coaching, there’s so much overlap between college and pro coaches and the type of systems that each are running,” Brees said.