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Bruce Arians: NFL rookies helped by new labor deal

INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL rookies are having success at a record pace in 2012.

Rookie running backs Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Trent Richardson of the Browns and Alfred Morris of the Redskins also have had immediate success. New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones is tied for the team lead in sacks. Cornerback Casey Hayward has shined for the Green Bay Packers. The list goes on.

Colts interim coach Bruce Arians points to the new collective bargaining agreement as the primary reason that rookies have developed quicker.

"I don't think there's any doubt -- the NFL collective bargaining agreement," Arians said Wednesday. "Veterans thought they were doing a good thing by shutting down practices for themselves. Rookies were allowed to be here 10 hours every day. They got all the reps they've never gotten in the past. From OTAs to extra rookie practices to rookie practices before training camp. Our guys guy 200 reps that they would have never gotten before the collective bargaining agreement.

"It has really helped rookies."

The new deal limited how much coaches can demand of players during the offseason and what they can do during those practice sessions. The rookie success has been a byproduct.

Arians also credited 7-on-7 high school leagues for quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs being better prepared. Colleges are running their programs like professional teams, which has had an effect.

Luck was expected to be as NFL-ready as any rookie quarterback in the last decade. RG3 was considered to be close behind. Others in the class are part of a trend that is ahead of schedule. That trend doesn't seem to be ending any time soon.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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