The first-year five: By the numbers

THE GOOD NEWS is that 2012 will kick off with a record five shiny new rookie starters under center. The previous record? Two. The bad news is that first-year starters have been horrid since 1990, with a combined 257-469 record. The chances of any of the five completing the ultimate assignment -- getting his team to the postseason -- is a long shot. But in all five situations, there's reason for optimism ... and a little pessimism too.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

The assignment: Luck will have a smooth start. Coordinator Bruce Arians loves to run; his teams have never finished higher than 15th in pass attempts. Luck simply has to hand off to Donald Brown, use his tight ends and go long to Reggie Wayne.
Good news: Luck excels on midrange passes, especially to tight ends. On throws of 20-29 yards last season, the Stanford QB hit on 26 of 44 passes for 843 yards, a terrific 19.2 yards per attempt. On those throws, he had seven TDs and no INTs.