Prisco: If You Break The Kid, Go Get Another

Pete Prisco has a fairly simple philosophy when it comes to highly drafted rookie quarterbacks: play them

The DA Show
August 10, 2018 - 12:10 pm

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Pete Prisco has a fairly simple philosophy when it comes to highly drafted rookie quarterbacks: play them. After all, Peyton Manning played as a rookie, took his lumps, and then became one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. 

“You’re going to grow,” the NFL columnist said on The DA Show. “You’re going to be better in year five than you are in year one, but if you go in there in year one and those (mistakes) break you, then you’re never going to be a quarterback in this league anyway. You’re going to be broken. That means you drafted the wrong guy. If you go in and make mistakes and you come through that, you’re going to be that much better for playing that year.”

As DA pointed out, though, not everyone is a future Hall of Famer, and if you play those quarterbacks too soon – if you throw them into the fire before they’re ready – you risk breaking them psychologically.

Prisco’s response: So?

“Maybe, but if he is, then his psyche isn’t very good, and you drafted the wrong guy,” Prisco said. “If I’m drafting a top-10 quarterback, he’s going to play and he’s going to go through that first year. And if he’s not and he doesn’t handle it and he comes back in the second year and he’s a broken man, then you know what you're going to have to do? You’re going to have to go back in and get another one because you drafted the wrong guy. I’m a big believer in playing them and letting them take their lumps, and if they can’t handle it, then you drafted the wrong guy.”

DA asked if Sam Darnold – the No. 3 overall pick – should start for the Jets.

“Yes,” Prisco said in a no-brainer tone. “Yes. Absolutely. Yes. No doubt about it. I look at their roster – I don’t see Brett Favre on that roster, do you? I see a journeyman in Josh McCown. He’s been a decent player at times, but he’s the guy that’s a bridge. Tyrod Taylor is the bridge. Sam Bradford is the bridge. You don’t have sustainable success in the National Football League with bridges. 

“When I look at the rosters of those teams, I don’t see a ready-made situation where the bridge is going to step in and maybe the defense is going to play great and get them to 12-4 and maybe make a run in the postseason,” Prisco continued. “I just don’t see that happening with those teams, so get on with it. Play the kid. I say it all the time: play the kid. And if you break the kid, then you get rid of the kid and you go get another kid.”

DA finds that philosophy laughably heartless.

“But if the kid is a star, then you got your next 12 years decided for you,” Prisco said. “DA, you’ve been on a practice field before when you’ve seen a guy hurt. They’re tended to and they move the drill over about five yards and run the next play. It’s cruel, man.”