Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was clearly the class of the rookie QB field this week.
For the first time since the AFL-NFL merger, Week 1 of the season featured five rookie quarterbacks starting for their repsetive teams. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and Russell Wilson all took the field yesterday, with a wide spectrum of results.
1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts - 23-for-45, 51.1% completion, 309 yards, 6.8 yards per attempt, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, QB rating 52.9
Luck struggled, but was up against a tough Bears defense, and topped 300 yards passing. His struggles will immediately make Colts fans, and the media, begin to question if the team was too quick to dump Peyton Manning (19-for-26, 253 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, QB ratin 94.4 ). Luck will be fine, but was clearly out played by Griffin.
2. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins - 19-for-26, 73.1% completion, 320 yards, 12.3 yards per completion, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, QB rating 139.0
RG3 dominated yesterday, and already has people saying the Colts made a mistake taking Luck over him. Obviously, it's a Week 1 knee jerk reaction, but he clearly was the top rookie QB this week. Griffin also rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries. Griffin outplaying Luck early was expected, so the overreaction to one game really should just be funny.
3. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins - 20-for-36. 55.5% completion, 219 yards, 6.1 yards per attemps, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, QB Rating 39.0
Taannehill's numbers are much worse than his game play. He actually completed nearly the same number of passes as Luck, despite throwing the ball nine fewer times. He was tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ben Roethlisberger in yards per attempt, and was one of eight quarterbacks to be between six and seven yards per attempt. Tannehill's downfall was the three interceptions, and even more disturbingly was his defelected passes. One of the interceptions came because Legedu Naanee allowed it to happen, while the other two were on two of the four defected balls. Tannehill has to fix his release, or step into better passing lanes, and stop staring down receivers if he is going to get rid of the batted balls.
4. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns - 12-for-35, 33.5% completion, 118 yards, 3.4 yards per completion, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, QB rating 5.1
Colt McCoy. The Browns selected Colt McCoy in the third round of the 2010 draft, planning to have him sit. He was forced into playing in Week 6 of that year, and a year-and-a-half later, the team is ready to dump them for first round pick Weeden. Weeden was not just bad as a rookie this week. He was just plain bad. A 5.1 passer rating is horrible, not only was he below 50% completion, he was barely above a 1:3 completion to attemp ratio. Maybe McCoy was not the problem with the Browns.
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks - 18-for-34, 52.0% completion, 151 yards, 4.4 yards per completion, 1 touchdown , 1 interception, QB rating 62.5
Wilson did not set the league on fire yesterday, but he also was not horrible. A solid day in a run heavy Seattle offense was nice for the rookie who beat out (overpaid) Matt Flynn. Wilson was nearly able to pull off a win in his first start, but Braylon Edwards demonstrated why the Dolphins should have signed him, dropping a pass in the end zone for the win.
Overall, it was a weekend with rookies looking like rookies. Robert Griffin III was clearly the head of the class, while Brandon Weeden brought up the rear. In the middle Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, and Russell Wilson all had good moments and bad.
For Dolphins fans, there were a few things to excite you, and there were a few things to worry about. Of course, it also was just the first week, against a possible Super Bowl bound team, and the team is young and developing. Reactions need to be tempered this week. Let's let the season get a little further along until we are ready to make a firm declaration on the rookie.