You can absolutely file this under the: "People are actually paying attention file." Chase Stuart of the New York Times NFL blog titled The Fifth Down is unquestionably impressed with Cincinnati's rookie duo of quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green, two of the most impressive offensive rookies this year. And it's hard not to be. Although one of Green's touchdowns came from Bruce Gradkowski during the regular season opener against the Cleveland Browns, Green is currently on pace to post 75 receptions for 1,179 yards receiving and nearly 12 touchdowns.
Together, Dalton and Green are breaking the rules when it comes to rookie quarterback/receiver combos. They’re almost certainly going to be the most productive such pair in at least the past 40 years. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable rookie quarterback/rookie wide receiver combinations in league history.
The 2000s had a lot of great rookie performances by both quarterbacks and receivers, but they never came by players on the same team. Rookie receivers weren’t key targets for Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger, or for Byron Leftwich, Vince Young, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. Not too surprisingly, Anquan Boldin, Michael Clayton, Eddie Royal, Marques Colston, Mike Williams, Andre Johnson and other top rookie receivers of the past decade weren’t catching passes from rookie quarterbacks.
It will be interesting to see how people will view both players when it's all said and done. But for the time being, we're enjoying the show too much to care about tomorrow. And as Stuart points out, it could be the most impressive rookie season for a quarterback and wide receiver combination this league has seen in quite a while.