For rookies who have been saddled with a lot of reps this season, the bye week is likely going to feel like a welcome hug. Remember this: the college season is typically only 10 to 13 games. For some who declared early for the draft or had schedules altered by COVID, it might have been even less.
For most rookies, there’s a late-season wall that’s often hit at the point where the player is not used to playing so long. That’s going to be especially true this season, because this is the first year the NFL has stretched the regular season to 17 games. For any team with its sights on a deep postseason run, it’s only going to feel even more like an uphill climb having to play so many games in a single stretch.
Some players like center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith, and linebacker Nick Bolton have been starting for the team since Week 1, which means their reps should be watched down the stretch. Are they going to hit a wall? Will there be a decline in quality? Will their overall youth help them withstand the rigors of such a long season for the first time?
The timing of this bye week certainly cannot hurt.