The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

All of Them


The NFL is a copycat league. When something works well for one team, invariably others implement that strategy, formation, management style, etc. Let the Wildcat serve as Exhibit A.

Exhibit B may well be rookies starting at quarterback. Last season, Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Baltimore's Joe Flacco did so with surprising results, at least to those of us outside the Falcons and Ravens locker rooms. Don't be shocked if Detroit, Tampa Bay and the New York Jets follow suit.

The Lions made Matthew Stafford the No. 1 overall pick for a reason. He's supposed to do for Detroit what Troy Aikman did for Dallas when it made him the top pick in 1989.

The Cowboys started Aikman right away, and while he absorbed 19 sacks and threw 18 interceptions in 11 games, he accumulated mental fortitude through the rookie travails. We saw how he and Dallas benefited down the road.

The Jets moved up on draft day to acquire Mark Sanchez because they have similar hopes. Sanchez has all the physical tools, plus he played in a pro-style offense in college. He's also accustomed to the glare of the media spotlight having played for Southern Cal. Might as well get him acclimated to the New York media too, although he seems to be fitting in quite well.

Josh Freeman doesn't have the name recognition of Stafford or Sanchez, but he has a previous relationship with Bucs Coach Raheem Morris. They both were at Kansas State in 2006, and that link may tip the scales if the competition is close during training camp.

The Bucs clearly are rebuilding anyway, having released veterans Joey Galloway, Derrick Brooks and Cato June, among others. It just makes sense to have Freeman be at the forefront of Tampa's new direction.

By Gene Wang  |  July 1, 2009; 10:37 AM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Baltimore Ravens , Gene Wang , New York Jets Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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