GREEN BAY - It used to be a rite of passage in the NFL for rookie Quarterbacks to watch from the sidelines and wait their turn, but that's no longer en vogue with five rookies signal callers currently starting, including the Colts Andrew Luck.
Safety Morgan Burnett said Luck is no average rookie. "He looks like a veteran who's been in the league for a while."
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said that going into the draft he was very impressed with Luck and when you study the Colts offensive film you can see that Indianapolis isn't treating the number one pick with kid gloves.
"Usually when you just line up and go after the Quarterback the offense is trying to play conservative and trying not to expose them, " said McCarthy. "We expect them to line up in 4 wide receiver empty back field sets 5 wide receivers and a lot of 3 by 1 formations so things like that so we have to plan for that in our defensive schemes. They're not just playing basic and trying to have him have a little bit of success. That's not the case."
League MVP Aaron Rodgers sat 3 years behind Brett Favre here in Green Bay and says the complexity of today's college game has helped the current crop of rookies' transition into the league.
"I think one thing in general is the coaching and the schemes at that level have definitely improved," said Rodgers. " I think that starting with the high school ranks there's been more things on the Quarterback more pro style plays in the offenses more adjusted protection stuff, more just trickle down effect of what the NFL's been doing."
Rodgers says it's a two way street though as NFL offenses begin to add wrinkles that popularized in lower ranks. "It goes top down and bottom back up. Some of the spread offense stuff you see now in the NFL started in high school and college."
Coach McCarthy agreed with his Quarterbacks assessment adding, ""I think you have to give credit or acknowledge that these Quarterbacks are coming out of college better prepared in my opinion. They play wide open offense is college so they spend a lot more time in the gun playing against pressure defenses. It's really preparing these guys better to play earlier."
One common trait shared by many of the new breed of starting Quarterback is the ability to extend plays with their feet, something Morgan Burnett said Luck is apt to do. "He's an athletic quarterback. In my opinion he can move around way better than what people give him credit for. He's a great leader, capable of making all the throws and he shows up on tape."
Fellow Safety Jerron McMillian added, "He's not going to force throws. He's going to tuck it and run around a little bit to buy his Wide Receivers some time that's a big thing for them."
All praise aside, Defensive Lineman Jerel Worthy said Luck is still a rookie and there are things the defense can do to make life tough on him. "With our defense we want to stop these guys on first down and put them into second and long situations, try and put the ball in his hands and make him make a lot of tough decisions" said Worthy. "This week we're going to try and disguise our looks a little bit. Obviously being a rookie it's hard to adjust when everything's flying at you but he's a smart player and we're just going to try and make it tough on him."
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