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The problem with rookie quarterbacks

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Three rookie quarterbacks lost on Sunday in a variety of ways. Derek Carr's best game as a pro took a bad turn when he made a rookie mistake, the latest example of why one player isn't going to turn a team around in his first year.

Thearon W. Henderson

If my math is correct, rookie quarterbacks have started 10 games so far this season. And their teams are a combined ...1-9 in those games.

Let me state again that I am not at all interested in having games won or lost as a "statistic" for quarterbacks, but I thought I would bring up the record in this case to show how absurd it is to believe that one guy is going to fix a bad team all by himself. If you have a good overall team, then of course a bad or average quarterback can hold them back. But even a great quarterback will turn around a bad team by himself.

Make no mistake, most teams in a position to draft a quarterback high are just not good teams. Some become bad teams because of injuries and circumstances like the Minnesota Vikings have this season. They certainly can help get things turned around, but you had better build around them or no matter how good they are five years from now, their team will still suck.

While all three rookie quarterbacks -- Derek Carr, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater -- took losses this past weekend, their performances were not all the same. I would say that Bridgewater played poorly and took somewhat of a step back from his winning performance over the Atlanta Falcons. I would say that Bortles, even with all the mistakes he made along the way, played good "enough" to win on Sunday. At the end of the game when all was lost, he throws a touchdown to his tight end and then gets his team in field goal position after they recovered the ensuing onside kick. But, kickers.

And then there was Carr. Like, Carr had moments in the game against the San Diego Chargers where I thought his arm might literally catch on fire. Dude was dealing, especially on some of his deep passes. Far from perfect, but he was still playing winning football for most of the game. And then ... dude, what the fuuuuuuck?!

If you hadn't heard about it before now, the Oakland Raiders were down three with less than two minutes left in the game when they got the ball for the last time in the fourth quarter. Carr got sacked on first down, fumbled, and the ball was recovered by the Chargers. However, the Chargers, specifically the Charger who sacked Carr and then recovered said fumble, were called for a facemask. It was a legitimate call that moved the ball to the Raiders 35-yard line. Carr then hits on two passes in a row to move the ball 21 more yards down the field to the Chargers 45. Here is where anybody even remotely familiar with the Raiders over the last, say, 10 or so years looks at the score, sees where the ball is at and yells out "SEABASS!!!"

Good old Sebastian Janikowski has been kicking long-range field goals for the Raiders for so long that most people assume anything less than a 60-yarder is definitely in his range. That might not be far off either. Needless to say, with more than a minute left the Raiders probably only needed 5 more yards, if that, to be close enough to call Seabass' attempt statistically probable.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Of course some folks might think playing for the tie is playing to lose, and hey, I get that. If the Raiders had wanted to take one or two "safe" shots at the end zone to try to win it in regulation, I think that would have been entirely reasonable. Having said that, Carr throwing deep into double coverage does not at all fit into the "safe" category. I would say it is fits right into the "dumb" category on the other side of the room.

Now I will admit right off that it took no less than an amazing effort by Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett to pick that pass off and land in bounds with it, but that's kind of the point. This is the NFL, where amazing happens multiple times every weekend. No, you can't play scared, but Carr with that throw wasted all of the effort his teammates put into winning or at least tying that game. The sooner he and the rest of his fellow rookie quarterbacks come to understand that when it comes to risk management at the end of the game, the sooner they will earn the respect of their teammates. Oh, and the wins for the team will probably also come a little easier too.