Previous First-Time Starting Quarterbacks Fared Surprisingly Well

Aug 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) looks for an open receiver during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Tennessee 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

In my earlier post I mentioned that I wasn't sure what to expect out of Jake Locker. I wanted to take a look back at how previous quarterbacks in similar situations performed in order to begin setting expectations. Since 2000, there have only been six other first round quarterbacks not to start a single game in their rookie season. It should be noted that because of a small error in how Pro-Football-Reference.com searches for seasons, it is possible I missed a quarterback. When I initially did the search, Carson Palmer was not included in my results because he did not do anything statistically his rookie year. Basically his 2003 rookie season didn't exist to the database. I went through all the seasons as best I could to catch any more of these scenarios, but if I missed one please let me know and I will add it to the post. Here is my initial search. As the title indicates, those six quarterbacks played better than I would have guessed.

After the jump will be the quarterbacks' results in their first career start.

Chad Pennington: Made his first start in the fourth game of his third year (2002).
Result: 22/29 (75.9%), 237 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.

Carson Palmer: Made his first start in the first game of his second year (2004).
Result: 18/27 (66.7%), 248 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.

JP Losman: Made his first start in the first game of his second year (2005).
Result: 17/28 (60.7%), 170 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT.

Philip Rivers: Made his first start in the first game of his third year (2006).
Result: 8/11 (72.7%), 108 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT.

Brady Quinn: Made his first start in the ninth game of his second year (2008).
Result: 23/35 (65.7%), 239 yards, 2 TDs, O INT.

Aaron Rodgers: Made his first start in the first game of his fourth year (2008).
Result: 18/22 (81.8%), 178 yards, 1 TD, O INT.

Just as another FYI, the results of the game went L-L-W-W-L-W, a 3-3 record.

None of this is intended to come of as predictive, but I found the stats extremely interesting and worth discussing.

First off, every QB was really accurate in their first start. Losman's near 61% completion rate was the lowest of the group. Each quarterback was also very good at protecting the ball, with only two interceptions in six games. Both of those stats shocked me. I was expecting a completion rate closer to 50% and a lot more turnovers (admittedly I didn't check fumbles). And even though the sample is extremely small, I thought for sure one of the QBs would've had a really rough first start.

Let's get back to setting expectations for Jake Locker. I'm still bullish on his accuracy. As much as I'd love to think he'll post a high completion rate similar to the others, I'd guess his accuracy will hover around 55% and that he'll throw both a TD and an INT. Throw in 200 yards and I think that would be a pretty good first outing for our young quarterback. What are your expecations for Jake Locker in Week 1?

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