By: Ethan Tyrrell, KCOU Sports
JaMarcus Russell’s story is no mystery to NFL fans. He was the first overall pick in the 2007 Draft and was anticipated to be a sensational quarterback. He quickly proved that this would not be the case. He got little playing time in his rookie season, and the time he had on the field was basically wasted. His only start that year resulted in two interceptions and a lost fumble. His career would only go downhill from there, and he was out of the league by 2010.
Russell, considered one of the biggest busts in the history of the NFL, represents a question that is currently facing several teams in the league, how long does it take for a quarterback to get adjusted to the league? When does a team choose to either put their trust in a new QB or give up?
After just the fourth week of the season, Bill’s head coach Doug Marrone made the decision to pull second year quarterback EJ Manuel in favor of the NFL’s go-to “we have no one else at this point” guy, Kyle Orton. Manuel has had just 14 starts since he came to the league in 2013. While the switch at quarterback is in no way permanent, it shows that Buffalo is not satisfied with the progress their former first round selection has made.
Geno Smith’s situation isn’t much better. The 39th overall pick of the 2013 Draft was hardly given a standing ovation when he walked off the field last Sunday after losing to the Detroit Lions. That is, unless one considers a chant for Michael Vick to replace Smith an ovation. He has yet to lose support from the coaching staff yet, but these chants are evident that the fans are hardly behind Smith.
These two quarterbacks have played, at most, one and a quarter seasons in the NFL. They have yet to do what they were anticipated to accomplish. Considering the way the world appears, their opportunities to prove themselves are coming to an end. But still, the question remains; when is it time to give up on a quarterback?
We are currently in an age where it is becoming clearer and clearer which quarterbacks are going to succeed from the start. Andrew Luck played well straight out of college, and in this, his third year, he’s putting up numbers that put him in the MVP discussion. Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl in his second season. Robert Griffin III, well, if he wasn’t constantly getting himself hurt, he’d probably be solid.
Teams are looking for the guy, the player who can immediately take a team from 3-13 to 13-3. Again, Andrew Luck comes to mind. But there still may be teams out there that can wait for a quarterback to develop, but the window of opportunity for most players is very small. Quarterbacks need to show from the start that they can be something, or they risk of being the next JaMarcus Russell.