The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

It's Pretty Amazing

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I'm frankly amazed that the Falcons and Ravens are winning with rookie starters at quarterback.

It's just not the way the NFL usually works. Troy Aikman didn't win as a rookie starter. Peyton Manning didn't.

Ben Roethlisberger did. But that was playing with a dominant team and only throwing 18 or 20 passes a game while the Steelers won with their defense and running game.

The Ravens' Joe Flacco and the Falcons' Matt Ryan now have some of those factors working in their favor. The Ravens, in particular, can be overpowering on defense. The Falcons have a particularly gifted runner in Michael Turner.

But you have to throw the ball effectively to win in today's NFL. When the Ravens won their Super Bowl with their defense for the ages, that was before the NFL made illegal contact by defenders in the secondary a point of officiating emphasis and opened up the passing game. It's a pass-first league now, and this season's Ravens and Falcons aren't winning despite their rookie quarterbacks. Flacco and Ryan are doing their part.

I'm still not convinced that it will continue all season. But for it to have gone so smoothly thus far for them and their teams is remarkable to me. When you decide to start a rookie at quarterback, that usually means being willing to live with the mistakes and the ups and downs in hopes of having a quarterback who's ready to win in two years or so. It's been the most unpredictable of NFL seasons, and the success of the two rookie quarterbacks is a major part of that.

By Mark Maske  |  November 11, 2008; 2:45 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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