What are two things Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill, E.J. Manuel, Brandon Weeden, Andrew Luck, Blaine Gabbert, and Jake Locker have in common? Well, one thing is they are all young NFL QBs with two years or less of NFL experience. The other thing is that none of them will face the Dallas Cowboys this year.
Last year, the Cowboys faced seven opponents who had a young starting QB (two years or less of NFL experience). This year it'll only be three, as the Cowboys play the Redskins with Robert Griffin twice and the Vikings with Christian Ponder once.
Here's the Cowboys' 2013 schedule, including the projected starting QBs and their respective NFL experience in years:
|12||@||New York Giants||Eli Manning||9|
|16||@||Washington Redskins||Robert Griffin||1|
|17||Philadelphia Eagles||Michael Vick||10|
As you look at this table, you'll notice that the Cowboys play a lot of seasoned veterans this year. In part, that's because they play the Giants and Eagles twice. Eli Manning has nine years of NFL experience, Michael Vick should have 12 but spent two of those locked away in a federal penitentiary. But the Cowboys also have quite a few other veterans on their schedule. In fact, if you add up the opposing QB's NFL starting experience over all 16 games, you get a value of 112, which happens to be the third highest value in the league.
The Cowboys will face a lot of experienced QBs this year. Here's an overview of all 32 NFL teams sorted by the combined NFL experience of the 16 opposing QBs they'll face in 2013.
|2013 NFL Strength of schedule by NFL experience of opposing QBs
|Rank||Team||Opp. QB Experience
||Rank||Team||Opp. QB Experience
||Rank||Team||Opp. QB Experience
While most NFL teams are clear on who their starting QB will be this year, some aren't, so I used the listing on the ourlads.com depth charts as the final arbiter for which QB is the starter for which team. As a result, this table assumes Mark Sanchez (NYJ), E.J. Manuel (BUF) and Matt Flynn (OAK) will be the starters for their respective teams.
The Redskins face the most experienced QBs this season, largely based on playing the NFC East teams twice this year: Manning (9), Vick (10), and Romo (10) are among the signal-callers with the most NFL experience in the league. Only Peyton Manning (15), Tom Brady (13), and Drew Brees (12) have more.
But the other NFC East teams aren't far behind, with the Cowboys and Eagles ranking third and fourth, and the Giants coming in seventh. At the other end of the spectrum, the Cardinals have the dubious distinction of playing Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Sam Bradford twice each this season.
Last year, even before the Eagles substituted Nick Foles for Michael Vick, the Cowboys faced a schedule that had a combined QB experience of 72, which would have put them very close to the bottom of the table above. This year, their schedule has one of the highest combined QB experience values. For the Cowboys and some of the other teams at the top of the table above, there is a benefit to playing against a pretty veteran group of QBs: they won't have to worry all that much about the read option.
Reality may not be as black and white as the following question, but here it is anyway: Would you rather face a veteran QB with experience or a young QB with legs?