There’s understandably a lot of excitement surrounding the first NFL start for Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger on Sunday. But it should probably be tempered by the fact that it’s not common for NFL quarterbacks to have great success right out of the chute.
So far this season, for instance, three rookie quarterbacks have started games – Oakland’s Derek Carr, Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles and Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater. Bortles was the third overall pick in the draft, Bridgewater the 32nd and Carr the 36th. But the combined overall record for the three in their starts this season is just 2-11, and they’ve thrown a combined 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
Carr is 0-6 as a starter (eight touchdowns, five interceptions and QB rating of 80.9), Bortles is 1-3 as a starter (five touchdowns, 10 interceptions and QB rating of 70.2) and Bridgewater is 1-2 (one touchdown, five interceptions and QB rating of 67.4).
What’s left unsaid here is that there’s a reason rookie quarterbacks are moved into the starting lineup, and it’s usually because the team around them is not very good.
The last Titans rookie quarterback to start a game was Rusty Smith, who had a forgettable debut in 2010. He completed 17-of-31 passes for 138 yards, tossing three interceptions in the Titans’ 20-0 loss to Houston.
Smith, like Mettenberger, was a sixth-round draft pick, but Mettenberger would have gone much higher had it not been for a recent knee surgery and some off-the-field issues.
TITANS INSIDER – John Glennon, firstname.lastname@example.org