Rookie QB’s Week 1 Performance: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Grading Rookie QB’s Week 1 Performances
This week we had five rookie quarterbacks making starts in the National Football League. In an offensively oriented league, all eyes were on these five players and their new teams. Let’s see how they did.
Robert Griffin III: A
RGIII was the only rookie quarterback to begin his career with a win, and he did so in impressive fashion. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Griffin is now the only quarterback to pass for over 300 yards in his professional debut and throw zero interceptions. An impressive feat, considering he put up these numbers against a fired up New Orleans Saints team, on the road in the Superdome. NOLA is not known as an easy place for opposing quarterbacks, especially when they are only 22 years old.
Going against “overreaction week” tradition, I am not ready to declare Griffin the rookie of the year quite yet. We have to remember that the Saints are defensively not a good team, especially in the secondary. Without Head Coach Sean Payton the Saints are also missing an important piece of their winning equation. Nonetheless, an “A” worthy performance from Griffin leading the Redskins to a win 40-32 over the Saints.
Andrew Luck: B+
The 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft also put up a 300+ yard passing performance, but could not lead the Indianapolis Colts to victory. With his 309 passing yards, Luck threw 1 TD and 3 interceptions. At least two of the three interceptions were made on extremely athletic plays made by Chicago Secondary. Plays that only happen on one day of the week, Sunday. Luck’s first game gave me little doubt that he will be a successful NFL QB, he may just miss this week’s biggest headlines.
While Luck’s numbers were not as impressive as RGII, Luck was stacked against a much more daunting defense. The Chicago Bears are a defensive minded team that even veteran QB’s circle on their schedule. It did not help that the Colts only ran the ball 15 times all game. It is hard to be successful with the play action pass without the defense having any fear of you actually running the ball. I expect to see more success from Luck as soon as next week against the Vikings.
Russell Wilson: C
Russell Wilson began his NFL career with a disappointing loss against NFC West divisional rivals, the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson went 18/34 for 153 yards, a meager 4.5 yards per completion. Part of the reason you didn’t see Wilson airing it out this weekend is a lack of offensive weapons for Wilson to look toward. Beyond Marshawn Lynch the Seahawks are offensively rebuilding. I think believe Wilson has the potential to be an affective NFL quarterback, but he faces an uphill battle. At 5’11” Wilson has limited downfield visibility from the pocket. When he scrambles, he eliminates half the field from play. To excel at Wilson’s size he will have to learn to compensate by being even more affective in other aspects of the game.
Ryan Tannehill: D
Tannehill took the field for the first time as a Miami Dolphin this Sunday, and walked away with a 30-10 defeat. While Tannehill faced one of the toughest defenses among rookie quarterbacks there was little positive to be taken away from this game. As a team, the Dolphins have a long way to go. Tannehill completed 20 passes for 219 yards, but also added 3 INTs and no touchdown passes. Perhaps most worrisome, the Dolphins were shut down 3 of 3 times in the red zone, unable to convert within striking distance. They also went a disappointing 2 for 10 on third down conversions. Tannehill may have talent, but he will need to learn to make plays when it counts.
Brandon Weeden: F
Weeden will most likely spend the rest of his NFL career trying to forget his debut. Completing 12 of 35 passes Weeden registered a 5.1 quarterback rating against the Philadelphia Eagles. Making matters worse, Weeden also threw four painful interceptions. Luckily for the Browns Michael Vick also threw four INTs to match, which is the only reason this game remained so close. At 28 years old, many people expected a more promising debut from a more mature rookie quarterback. Unfortunately for Browns fans, it looks like Brandon Weeden has a little more growing up to do.