Week 1 Report Card Grades for Every Rookie NFL QB
Five rookie quarterbacks took the field in the first week of the NFL season, and all five started.
Which first-year quarterbacks did the best and worst—and not just from a statistical perspective? Which did the most with the talent around them, the defense they faced and the situations they were presented with?
It's a long season, but after Week 1, here are the grades for all five rookie starters.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Stats: 18-of-34, 52.9 percent completed, 153 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks
Wilson played better than his numbers might indicate, but this game definitely showed that he is a work in progress and not the instant stud that many in Seattle and the national media were hoping for after a very strong preseason.
Wilson did some things well, but the most glaring issue was his accuracy. Chalk it up to a lack of experience, but Wilson's ball placement was an issue in this one. It doesn't help that his targets dropped three passes, but in the grand scheme of things, three more completions wouldn't have changed much in terms of Wilson's overall performance.
It's worth noting that, according to ProFootballFocus, Wilson scrambled more than any other quarterback in Week 1 with six attempts.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
Stats: 12-of-35, 34.3 percent completed, 118 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT, 2 sacks
This wasn't pretty. Of the quarterbacks who saw major snaps in the NFL's first week, Brandon Weeden was by far the worst.
Not only were Weeden's numbers bad—and a passer rating of 5.1 is historically bad—but his poise and composure on the field and in the offense didn't hold up. Weeden looked overwhelmed by the Eagles defense from the opening snap.
There's not much to build on from this one for Weeden, but the good news is that he can't be much worse in Week 2.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Stats: 20-of-36, 55.6 percent completed, 219 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, 3 sacks
From a statistical perspective, there weren't many quarterbacks with a worse performance than Ryan Tannehill's outing against the Houston Texans. To be fair, Houston does have one of the NFL's best defenses, but Tannehill's accuracy and decision-making were all over the place.
The three interceptions really stand out here, but also the fact that Tannehill had three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. For Week 2 to be better, Tannehill needs to use his feet to position himself in the pocket so he can throw through passing windows instead of trying to force the ball out.
Outside of Brandon Weeden's passer rating of 5.1, Tannehill's 39 was the lowest of all starting quarterbacks this week.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Stats: 19-of-26, 73.1 percent completed, 320 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack
Robert Griffin III lived up to his hype.
The Washington Redskins' franchise quarterback and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft was outstanding in his first game as a pro. From a run and pass perspective, Griffin did everything the Redskins could have asked for. His decision-making was spot-on, as evidenced by his completion percentage and clean interception record. Griffin looked confident and comfortable in the Washington offense, exploiting the New Orleans Saints defense with great timing and anticipation on routes.
Griffin's opening-day performance is one for the ages, and it will only help to build the excitement in Washington over his first season. If Griffin can keep this up, the Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy will be his.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Stats: 23-of-45, 51.1 percent completed, 309 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, 3 sacks
It's tough to remember an NFL rookie starting their first game with more pressure than Andrew Luck. Not only is he replacing a legend in Peyton Manning, but the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft had a great preseason, further raising the bar of expectations.
Luck was solid, but not great, in his first outing. A lot of the bad can be chalked up to an offensive line that left him scrambling for much of the game, but Luck also missed on his fair share of attempts. His decision-making was questionable at times, although he did seem to find an early chemistry with Reggie Wayne and was able to challenge the Chicago Bears defense on the edges.
Luck will get better, and there was enough good in this game to give fans and analysts confidence in his play moving forward.
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