5. The Reality Is, if it’s all about development, the rookies gotta play.
Jamin Davis isn’t going to get better by not getting reps. He’s going to get better by learning from his own mistakes under fire. Benjamin St. Juste isn’t going to learn the nuances of in-game communication in the classroom. He’s going to have to experience the different ways teams will try to expose your defensive scheme and develop the muscle memory and instincts to sniff things out. Davis and St. Juste played 13 and 12 snaps, respectively on Sunday against New Orleans, good for 23% and 21% of all defensive snaps played.
If this season is really about development and not wins and losses, then Rivera needs to be playing these two at least 80% of healthy snaps the remainder of the year. That may mean they make a few rookie mistakes. Good, they’ll learn from them. That may mean some communication issues continue. Fine, it’s part of the learning curve. At least it will be due to a long-term plan, not due just inexplicable ineptitude from seasoned veterans. Look for dramatic upticks in usage for both of these young defenders on Sunday, or it’s fair to assume that development is more of an excuse than a motivation for this regime at this point.