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Friend of the program Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) interviewed me over at her blog at the Houston Chronicle to discuss quarterback stats.

Some folks have the point of view that rookie quarterbacks should sit and learn. Some folks have the point of view that the only way a young quarterback can learn is by getting a ton of first team reps in practice and then playing real games. Do the numbers say anything about this?

“This is always going to be an impossible question to answer. We don’t live in a counter-factual world, and nobody knows what would have happened to David Carr if he sat on the bench for a couple of years. Ryan Mallett might benefit from having sat behind Tom Brady for three years, or he might just be the next Curtis Painter (or Brian Hoyer or Jim Sorgi or Rohan Davey).

That said, I’m pretty skeptical of the idea that a quarterback needs to sit and learn. There’s nothing wrong with sitting and learning, but I don’t think it makes a quarterback better.  Aaron Rodgers was great right away after sitting for three years; had he started right away, he almost certainly would not have been that good, but I don’t doubt that he would have still turned into the superstar he is today.

One thing that isn’t really true: rookie quarterbacks aren’t really starting much earlier than they used to. In general, top picks always got a chance pretty early in their careers.”

You can read the full article here.


Gary Kubiak.

Gary Kubiak doesn’t have a personality like a Ryan or a Harbaugh. He hasn’t been profiled to death like Andy Reid or Norv Turner. He doesn’t have the rings of Mike Tomlin or Bill Belichick. If not for the simple fact that he’s been in Houston forever, I’m not sure if most NFL fans could even name the head coach of the Texans. But his coaching career has been a fascinating one that leaves me with more questions than answers.

In January 2011, I wrote that Kubiak and Jack Del Rio were given incredibly long leashes in the AFC South. From 1970 to 2010, only four head coaches had (a) finished with a .500 or worse record in four out of five seasons with the same team, (b) finished with a .500 or worse record in the fifth season, and (c) were retained to coach for a sixth season. The four head coaches — Marvin Lewis, Dan Reeves, Bart Starr, and John McKay — all had extenuating circumstances for their failures, which differentiated them from Del Rio and Kubiak, who were about to become the fifth and sixth such coaches.

Things have changed dramatically in 22 months. The Jaguars have changed owners, head coaches, and quarterbacks, and likely will have a new general manager soon, too. Meanwhile, the Texans still have the same four men — Bob McNair, Rick Smith, Kubiak and Matt Schaub — in the four most prominent roles in the organization. Houston’s one big move, hiring Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator, has worked perfectly. Phillips has turned a dreadful Houston defense into one of the best units in the league.

The outlook is so promising in Houston that it’s easy to forget where things stood less than two years ago. Following a loss to the Tim Tebow-led Broncos — this was the year before Tebow-mania took the NFL by storm — most of the football world assumed the firing of Kubiak was a fait accompli. John McClain, a veteran writer in Houston for over 30 years, tweeted: “After the way the Texans blew Denver game leading 17-0 at halftime and 23-10 in the 4th quarter, I’ll be stunned if the staff isn’t fired.” McLain was so disgusted that he added, “I’ll say it again: The Texans have the worst pass defense in the history of football at any level since the beginning of time.”
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