How the NFL's rookie quarterbacks stack up side by side

12/4/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

So, which one of these rookie studs is the best? Seahawks players will tell you it's Russell Wilson, but I'll have to disagree. Wilson has been fantastic, but the Seahawks are a team built on defense and the run game. They're ranked 4th in total defense, and 7th in rushing offense, allowing Wilson to game manage his way to victory. Wilson deserves a lot of credit for the Seahawks' 7-5 record, but as the signal caller in the league's 30th ranked aerial attack, he doesn't deserve too much credit.
Blog Photo - How the NFL's rookie quarterbacks stack up side by side
 
As for the top two picks, I have to go with RG3 over Andrew Luck. And no, I'm not just saying this because I'm caught up in the flashiness of the most electrifying quarterback we've seen since pre-dog-murder Michael Vick. I've always thought that Griffin had higher upside than Luck, but I didn't think he'd show it until a few years down the road. However, Griffin is proving to be one of the safest quarterbacks with the ball in the league, and when he does let it loose, he rips off big chunks of yardage. His yards per attempt average of 8.2 is second best in the NFL, compared to Luck's 7.1 yards per attempt, which ranks 17th. Griffin has thrown a fourth of the interceptions that Luck has thrown (Luck leads the NFL in that department). RG3's total touchdown to total turnover (interceptions + lost fumbles) ratio is 23:6, while Luck's is 22:21. The quarterback ratings say it all - RG3: 104.4, Luck: 76.1.

The argument can be made that the numbers don't matter, and that Luck is better because he has his team at 8-4 and likely to make the playoffs. Not so fast... Griffin's offense scores more points than Luck's, and turns the ball over less - it's not Griffin's fault that the Redskins can't pull off more wins.

Though the Redskins and Colts are 23rd and 24th in scoring defense, the Colts' number is skewed by a couple of blowout losses. The Colts' defense has given up an average of 18.6 points per game in their eight wins - that number would ranked 5th in the league if they maintained it through their four losses. They've held opponents to 20 points or less in six of their eight wins. Luck hasn't had to put too many points on the board to win football games.

The Redskins have given up 22.2 points per game in their wins (and that's dragged down by a 31-6 win over the Eagles), which would rank 17th in the league if they maintained it in through their six losses, so Griffin has had to do more than Luck to earn his victories.

One final note: Griffin has almost no weapons to throw to. Pierre Garcon has been pretty good when on the field and healthy, but he's only played in six of the team's games and has been gimpy in a few of them. Luck's No. 1 receiver is a surefire Hall of Famer, and the receiving options around him (Avery, Hilton, etc.) are better than a washed up Santana Moss and some guy named Leonard Hankerson.

Don't get me wrong, I think Andrew Luck is exceptional and is having a historic season as a rookie quarterback, but Robert Griffin III would be having a historic season even if he wasn't a rookie. I can't think of a quarterback who ever ran like Griffin does while maintaining a quarterback rating of 100+. What RG3 is doing is ridiculous, and he may have a worse record than Luck, but I think he's had a more impressive season. Plus, the Redskins are one game back of the NFC East leaders with three of their final four games are against teams that have .500 records or worse, so absolutely do not count RG3 out of the postseason.
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12/4/12   |   kobe_lova   |   61564 respect

Weeden is a great backup QB.

12/4/12   |   Jess   |   34631 respect

(Edited by Jess)

There are a few things that a lot of people don't realize though as far the Seahawks passing game is concerned. First, Wilson's stats would be a lot better had it not been for dropped passes early this season. I realize that it's not as bad as seasons past, and our receivers have improved dramatically, but there were a few games when Wilson was getting the ball right into their hands and they couldn't hold on. The phrases "in and out of the hands of ...." and "you've gotta make that catch..." gave me indigestion. Sometimes stats don't tell the whole story. Not to take away from our rushing game, but as our receivers started holding on and the OC opened up the playbook, Wilson started turning heads. That takes us to second - as Eric (gearhead) said in his article about the rookie QBs, they just recently took off the kid gloves with him and are letting him have a lot more control of what goes on out on the field. Maybe he needed them at first. Maybe that was exactly how they needed to work with him to progress as he has been, I don't know. I'm not going to say he doesn't make rookie mistakes - they all do. He frustrates me when he doesn't see a wide open receiver (sometimes because of his size, sometimes he just doesn't get to him in the progression before the pocket collapses, sometimes he's just got tunnel vision for one guy), and he did tend to panic and scramble a little early but he's getting better about that. 

As for our defense - they've given up several 4th quarter leads, a lot of big plays, and for some reason canNOT seem to figure out how to consistently stop a team on 3rd and long. I realize they're ranked high, but there are a lot of frustrations there too, and a lot of areas in which they can improve.