Rookies deserve time and patience. They won't get either around here.
Football fans want to see the new kids make an immediate impact. Rookies are judged by their coaches out of the gate, and we've already seen a handful of newbies show significant promise. Others have a long way to go, but we'll be gentle with that lot -- for now.
With a batch of preseason games under their collective belts, here are six first-timers who have stirred the imagination:
» Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins quarterback: East of Peyton Manning, no player faced higher expectations in a preseason opener than RG3. He's tasked with saving the Washington Redskins when many before him have failed, but RG3 appears to embrace this. Side note: The man can sling it, and his chemistry with receiver Pierre Garcon might come back to haunt the NFC East this season.
» David Wilson, New York Giants running back: He's going to drive defenses crazy. Pairing veteran Ahmad Bradshaw with Wilson gives the Giants a re-energized backfield. Eli Manning and the passing game will flourish because opponents won't be able to ignore the ground game. Wilson -- who also returns kicks -- will become an important piece of this offense.
» Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back: LeGarrette Blount believes he and Martin "can definitely be the best duo in the NFL." We're not ready to crown the Bucs -- inside their own division, the New Orleans Saints could probably run for 3,000 yards if they wanted to -- but Martin displayed balance and power against the Miami Dolphins. So far, so good.
» Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker: Rosenthal labeled David an "immediate starter" for Tampa after a debut that included a tackle for a loss and a pick. Tampa has struggled to keep its draft picks healthy on defense, but coach Greg Schiano likes what he sees so far: "(David) flew around out there, and he looked comfortable."
» Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins quarterback: A few months ago, popular thinking had Tannehill riding the pine in sponge mode until 2013. Those days are nevermore. If Tannehill builds on his showing against the Bucs, we'd be surprised if he isn't starting by October, if not sooner. "He has complete control over the offense," left tackle Lydon Murtha told The Palm Beach Post. "It feels like he's been playing (in the NFL) for four years."
» Chandler Jones, New England Patriots defensive end: Bill Belichick has to get a charge from what Jones did against the Saints on Thursday night. Jones is a wild jumble of arms and legs and power. He had his way against the New Orleans line, leaving left tackle Jermon Bushrod to tell ESPN Boston: "He looks like a (Jason) Pierre-Paul type." We agree. This man has havoc written all over him.