Last year, the first year coach and rookie quarterback combo was brought to life by our Ravens (John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco), who made it all the way to the AFC Championship game, and the Falcons (Mike Smith and Matt Ryan) who made it to the playoffs. This year another combo has sprung to America’s attention, the Jets under the leadership of first year coach Rex Ryan and rookie standout QB Mark Sanchez. We are only three games into the season, but the Jets seem to be no joke defeating the likes of the New England Patriots, and the AFC’s best record holder from a year ago, the Tennessee Titans.
As more of these duos emerge, the similarities pile up, and a formula has formed as to what type of teams can pull off the first year coach, rookie QB combo. The first thing that you notice is that the rookie quarterbacks aren’t being asked of too much. The Falcon’s relied on Michael Turner for the bulk of their offensive production last year, as can be seen through his ridiculous amounts of carries, 376. Our Raven’s put the ball in the hands of Cerebus, our three headed monster of the backfield. As a combined total McGahee, McClain, and Rice carried the ball 509 times. And now this year Sanchez can rely on Leon Washington and Thomas Jones who have amounted 89 carries thus far, and are projected to reach 475 carries before the season is over. So as you can see, running back involvement is key to the first year coach, rookie quarterback strategy.
Another common theme among the Ravens, Falcons, and (thus far) Jets,
has to do with that first year coach. All three, the Raven’s John Harbaugh, the Falcon’s Mike Smith, and the Jet’s Rex Ryan all come from coaching defenses. Before they were head coaches, they coached defense, and they understand that defense win championships. Harbaugh was the Eagle’s secondary coach, while Mike Smith and Rex Ryan were defensive coordinators; Smith for the Jaguars, and Ryan for the Ravens.
The bottom line is that the Jets fit the mold, but can they duplicate what the Ravens or Falcons did? Only time will tell, but from what we have seen so far, I think so!