loafoftatupu wrote:I just don't remember Elway and Kelly coming out with serious success in their rookie years. Now Marino was a stud immediately, in 84 he was already doing big name commercials and all that. It didn't take Kelly and Elway long, but I actually think this class is better outside of the Marino play. Man he was fun to watch back them.
Kelly was in the USFL. That was part of the reason nobody saw him doing much of anything. He came to the NFL when the USFL folded and players were dispersed.
Elway wasn't the starter from the get-go in Denver, and they planned to work him in slowly. He showed flashes of brilliance, but was also prone to turnovers. His rookie year would compare really closely if you were to look at the stats with I'm betting Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning. Both had a rough go of it, but everybody who watched them knew they were going to be good. Elway had the rocket arm, and could move out of the pocket, which was not real common in that era (the post Tarkenton/Archie Manning/Ken Stabler era).
I think that is why Marino had success immediately. He had such a wicked fast release, and they used him just about the same way that Don Coryell used Dan Fouts and his receivers in San Diego because Marino had a lot of the same qualities that Fouts had. It was a wise move by Shula and he got a lot out of Marino in short order. He had 3 good receivers and made the most of it. Notice the Broncos followed and quickly put together their "3 amigos" to try to get Elway to that elite level? Elway was a guy that would do things like RW does now, and that is what hurt. He'd be stuck in a 3rd and long and we'd have a guy hanging off of his shoulder pads and he'd somehow give him the slip and run 8 or 9 yards and barely squeak past the sticks for another first down. It was so maddening. But Marino definitely showed the most promise early.
Jim Kelly, Steve Young, and Bobby Hebert were all playing in the USFL and doing well there, and it wasn't until I believe the 86 season when all of those guys made it into the NFL and started to make their mark with their NFL teams.