Well it should not be a surprise to anybody that our head coach does not play rookies immediately. That is unless injuries force them into the lineup, and we don't have an incapable veteran to hold the spot and muck things up a bit at whatever position it is. We saw this the year we drafted DRC, and finally they plugged him into the lineup, he thrived for the rest of that season. That season saw us make an appearance at the biggest game of all. We also saw Greg Toler (due to injury) take over the following year during the playoff game against the Saints, and he produced BIG. Then comes Beanie Wells, and well never mind. Either way it's no surprise we know that he doesn't prefer to play rookies right off the bat.
It should be no surprise this season that when we lost both of our starting tackles before the season began, that we would struggle get to see the newly drafted rookies Massie and Potter in action. Massie got the nod in Week 1 as the starter, but surprisingly Whisenhunt held off on plugging Nate Potter into the lineup until this match up against the Packers. Instead he chose to role with D'Anthony Batiste (previously mentioned incapable veteran), and the guy was nothing short of awful. Anyways Potter got the nod in what I think was the last drive of the first half, and I watched him through the entire game. Potter has issues driving his man off the ball a bit, but he did one HELL of a job keeping pass rushers at bay. The most notable play being the first offensive play of the second half, Clay Matthews took the edge and tried to get inside (which he did) even with that double move our 7th round rookie stayed in front of him and drove him away from John Skelton. He needs time to work with Colledge, but outside of that swatted pass, when Potter was called on to chop and pop on an island he kept his man at bay. As far as Massie goes he seems to be performing much MUCH better now that Adam Snyder has exited the lineup (once again previously mentioned incapable veteran). It was only one half of a game with both of them, but from what I saw against a team that was leading the league in sacks, given that Potter came into the game when the defense of Green Bay already had it's ears pinned back with a lone goal of harassing John Skelton, our shaken up offensive line with two rookie tackles answered the call, and that leaves me optimistic heading into the bye.
What is most frustrating about Whisenhunt's philosophy on playing rookies is that it always seems that we plug in rookies that effect the game when the season is teetering (anyone remember last year with the exit of Joey Porter and Clark Haggans from the starting lineup?) when they could have very well played much earlier in the season, and the team could have ended up with some extra W's. That being said maybe this is Whisenhunt seeing how this guy is going to perform in a high pressure situation, or perhaps it is Whiz's way of motivating a rookie to give it his all every single snap by making them so anxious to see the field they will do anything it takes to never sit on the bench during a game again? Either way In Whiz I trust to lead us into the post season this season. Should we make the post season, without a doubt Whiz needs to be thrown into the coach of the year award talk given the rash of injuries he has dealt with. One more thought given the play of Massie and Potter, what do you Russ Grimm haters have to say now? He seems to be capable of coaching up any offensive lineman that would play for any of the other 31 teams, but anyone who has left since he has arrived generally exits the league. Reggie Wells being the exception, but only because Philly could not find a single person that was any better.