Expect the designation "DNP," or at least "did not start," to remain attached to their names for a little while longer.
Two of the rookies, top overall pick Cam Newton of Carolina and Cincinnati second-rounder Andy Dalton, started in the opener. Newton, of course, performed at a record level, throwing for 442 yards, the most ever by a rookie in his first regular-season start. Dalton played only a half before suffering a forearm injury and, even though it was Bengals backup Bruce Gradkowski who threw a winning touchdown pass versus Cleveland, the rookie is 1-0 in the league's record books.
Jake Locker (Titans), Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars), Christian Ponder (Vikings) and Colin Kaepernick (49ers) combined for a goose-egg. And it might not be until the second month of the season, if even then, before any of the four hatches a start.
One of the overarching themes of the lockout-riddled offseason was the speculation about how quickly some of the league's "young guns" might play. For now, though, the six-shooters are mostly holstered.
Consider the circumstances:
Said Frazier: "We had a lot more problems than just (McNabb)."
Quarterback-needy teams were anxious to choose their presumptive field generals of the future in the draft, with four quarterbacks off the board in the first dozen picks, and six in the top 36. They might not be so eager, though, to play them.
"You can't just make a knee-jerk (reaction)," said one offensive assistant coach from one of the teams that chose a rookie quarterback in the first two rounds.
It wasn't until the third week of the season in 2010 that a coach made a switch at the starting quarterback spot that was based on performance, and not attrition. Coaches have not been as loathe the past three or four seasons to engineer such changes as they were in previous years – there were 11 non-injury related switches at starting quarterback, for instance, in 2010 – but turning to a rookie is a dicey undertaking.
And there is this element as well: All four of the franchises cited above don't have their bye weeks, arguably the optimum time to make a change, until after five weeks of the season. Two of the clubs don't have byes until right around the mid-point of the campaign.
In a league where coaches are under pressure to win, and the weekly scrutiny is more intense than ever, the old adage "the future is now" is truer than ever. But that doesn't mean it applies to rookie quarterbacks.
It might be wise for the starters in Tennessee, Jacksonville, Minnesota and San Francisco to keep looking over their shoulders. But it certainly looks a little early to put their heads on a swivel.