FYI: This is going to be a long one.
If you are an NFL fan and haven’t heard of Carson Wentz yet, come out from underneath the rock your living under. The kid is going to be a legend.
Hailing from North Dakota State University, Carson Wentz is the Philadelphia Eagles 6-foot-5, 237-pound first-round draft pick this year—and is now the Eagles starting quarterback.
It wasn’t all so sweet and easy, though. If you don’t know, Philly fans are tough. They will call you out so quickly and boo their own teams and players. Up until a week before the first game of the season, Sam Bradford was the Eagles starting quarterback. But, some fans wanted Carson to start, some wanted Sam to start—the drama was on.
This is why they didn’t want Carson to start: Because he’s fresh out of college. Because he’s a rookie. Because he’s never played NFL football.
Another reason: Carson only played 1 preseason game and during that game he suffered a hairline rib fracture. Fans didn’t want him to start because of this and he might get injured during the real season.
(Side note from my brain: Hmmmm… okay… but you want to start Sam who hesitates to make a decision, never runs the ball, looks scared, and is honestly just painful to watch? K.)
Fast-forward to the week before the season starts: Eagles sent Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for two draft picks.
Carson Wentz became our starting quarterback after this trade, and here are his stats so far: 2 games into the season, Wentz has completed 60% of his passes, thrown for 468 yards, has three touchdowns, that 94.1 rating and a Y/A of 6.6. (source) He’s amazing.
Here are my thoughts on all of this and how it relates to hiring and the workplace:
I disagree with those fans who said to not start Carson because he’s a rookie and he’s never played an NFL game. Um, every single player in the league started out like this. And if you’re able to recognize that you’ve got mad talent in a rookie, like Carson, play them! How else do you expect people to get experience and develop into an all-star if you don’t give them a chance? There may be a couple mistakes and bumps in the road, but you’ll get that from a seasoned senior player, too.
They best way to learn—and learn from mistakes fast—is to get your nose bloody. Run first, then crawl.
I disagree with the fans that didn’t want him to start because of this hairline rib fracture and thought he might get injured. He was cleared to play. He felt good and had enough confidence in himself to play. Rookies aren’t the only ones who can get hurt. Humans are humans. A bone is a bone. If you get hit hard enough, it’s going to break. Don’t make excuses for people. Don’t let a former mistake or injury cloud your perception of someone enough to where you don’t want them to get out there on the field again. Rookies probably get the most heat from this—but you as the coach, don’t let it happen.
Plus—when you get injured or make a mistake, that junk hurts! Rookie or vet, true talent doesn’t like letting their coach and team down. Once the pain subsides, they’ll do what it takes to prevent it from happening again.
Your people, rookie or veterans, are on your team for a reason.
Because you saw their talent and you recruited them to make your team better.
Just because a person is “fresh out of college” doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to hang with the vets. Sure, there will be some learning and mistakes—that’s just how it goes. But give the rookies responsibilities. Give them a shot at proving themselves. Don’t doubt them because “they’ve never had a corporate job before” (because, you probably didn’t beforehand either and someone gave you a chance. We aren’t born with briefcases in our hands. I, personally, don’t want one outside the womb anyways.)
And most importantly, if you’ve got a solid rookie who has the passion, confidence, and proven skills to show for it, they are worth investing in. They. Are. Worth. It. Don’t not take time in developing/investing in a star rookie because “they’ve never done this or that.”
I mean… that is a reason we all get a job at a company, right? To be invested in, provide value, and become more developed as a key player? Correct me if I’m wrong.
I trust that when you hire someone, you’re hiring them because you believe in them. I also trust that you is smart, you is kind, and you is important—and you’re also a competent professional who wouldn’t just hire a warm body to fill an empty seat, right?
Here are 2 lovely quotes from Carson Wentz:
“I play at a confident, fast pace, and when I like something, I take it. I rip it.”
“I take great pride in the things I do. If I am given a task, I’m going to do it with 110 percent of my ability. I was trying to be the best I can be at everything so that’s how I applied myself to academics, the same way I do for football, the same way I do to my faith and everything in my life. I came close a couple of times [to a B], got a couple of low A’s, but I pulled it out in the end and it’s still an A.”
Amen, Carson. Amen.
Let your rookies play. Let your vets be there to help guide and be there to support and teach when things go wrong.
Get their noses bloody and watch them soar. #FlyEaglesFly