Rookie Quarterbacks: Progress Reports

10/23/12 in NFL   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

October 21, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter of an NFL game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIREIs it surprising at all to anyone else that we’re through seven weeks of the regular season and we have 5 rookie quarterbacks that have started every game for their respective teams?  No cases of the JaMarcus Russell or Joey Harrington syndrome so far.  We all knew Luck and RGIII were going to be thrown into the fire right when they got here, and it’s not surprising to me that the top two picks in 2012 have put up some solid numbers so far this year, but with the other three rookie starters, I figured at least one, probably two would have lost their spot or at least been widely criticized by now.
 
Here is how they have all fared so far this season:
 
Andrew Luck:
 
Grade – A-
 
The Colts have put together three wins already this year (after winning just two in total last season) including a shocking victory over the Green Bay Packers in week 4 when they overcame a 21-3 half-time deficit to eventually win 30-27.  Luck has thrown the ball on average 41.7 times a game (first amongst rookies, third overall) and has topped 300 yards in half his outings, with an average of 279 per game (also first amongst rookies).  His 10 total touchdowns are a stat that we like to see, but the 10 turnovers that go with it keeps Luck from his solid A grade. 
 
Robert Griffin III:
 
Grade – A
 
Thanks to RGIII, the Redskins have been in place to win all seven of their contests so far this season.  They’ve lost four games by a combined 21 points and currently stand at 3-4, but let’s not forget that two of those losses were against the defending super bowl champs and the last undefeated team in the NFL.  Griffin has contributed 13 total touchdowns (first amongst rookies), run for a total of 468 yards (2nd amongst rookies to his backfield partner Alfred Morris), completed 70.4% of his passing attempts (first amongst rookies by over 10%), and has only turned the ball over 5 times (again, first amongst rookies).  Despite being a game under .500, the Redskins can’t be at all upset by the production of their new QB.
 
Ryan Tannehill
 
Grade – B
 
Sept. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) looks on during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRETannehill’s numbers aren’t anything too flashy, but he’s got the Dolphins at 3-3 right now, and it’s hard to complain about that.  Through six games, he’s thrown 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions (3 of which came in his first start against Houston).  Again, the numbers aren’t too flashy, but if you take a look at his last three outings, Dolphins fans have to be optimistic about what they see.  Tanehill threw for 431 yards against the Cardinals, completed 17 of his 26 passes for 223 yards in a 17-13 win at Cincinnati, and most recently completed 21 of his 29 passes including 2 touchdowns in a 17-14 victory over the Rams.  The numbers don’t pop at you like they do with RGIII, but Miami definitely has something to be excited about.
 
Brandon Weeden
 
Grade – B-
 
After an NFL debut that probably couldn’t have gone more poorly even if he tried (12-35, 118 yards, 4 interceptions and a QB rating of 5.1), Weeden has evened things out quite a bit.  His 254.7 yards per game are second amongst rookies and his 9 touchdown passes are first.  While the Browns have only one victory to show from their efforts so far this year, they’ve had some respectable losses, particularly a 7-point week 4 loss in Baltimore and a 4-point loss this past week at Indianapolis where Weeden threw for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns (and would have had a third one and a possible victory if it weren’t for a play that Josh Gordon will never forget).  Overall, the Browns have been surprisingly competitive, so Weeden deserves quite a bit of credit.
 
Russell Wilson
 
Grade – B
 
The lone rookie starter on a team with a winning record, Wilson has helped the Seahawks defeat two of the league’s powerhouses in the Packers and Patriots, and the team has proven they demand to be taken seriously as an NFC playoff contender.  As with Tannehill, Wilson’s stats definitely won’t blow you away.  He’s last amongst the five rookies in yards per game by a long shot and he’s only thrown for over 170 yards twice in seven games.  But Seattle has only asked for an average of about 25 passing attempts per game from him.  Wilson still has a lot to prove and with how little he’s throwing the ball, he definitely needs to minimize the turnovers from hereon out (7 interceptions in 7 games so far).  But all in all, the Seahawks are 4-3 and look to be happy with Wilson at the helm.
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10/25/12   |   Trokspot   |   65 respect

I'd maybe give Weeden a bit higher grade here.  When you look past that first game that you point out (horrifically terrible), his numbers are pretty good.  They're even more impressive when you consider that he's playing for the Browns....who are his receivers there!?!?  And how many drops do they have.....