This is the year of the rookie quarterback. We'll be here to document it. Just like in the preseason, Around the League will review all the starting rookie quarterbacks each week with a lot of video assistance. We'll list the quarterbacks in order of how they performed the previous week. There's only one choice for the top spot this time.
We loved how Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan used RG3 in his NFL debut. Shanahan okie doked us all in the preseason before unveiling an array of screens, run-pass options, and moving pockets. It was a great mix of the Baylor offense and Shanahan's best work. Griffin made smart decisions and threw well from the pocket. He delivered while being hit. (Although the New Orleans Saints pass rush was weak.) Just the threat of Griffin running froze defenders. With Pierre Garcon hurt and Josh Morgan ineffective, RG3 got Aldrick Robinson involved.
This was the best win of the Dan Snyder era because of the promise it showed for the decade ahead.
2. Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck's debut had its shaky moments, but he was a lot better than his four turnovers indicate. The guys around Luck were brutal. More than half of Donald Brown's runs went for a yard or less, and he had two drops. Donnie Avery just gave up on a ball that was intercepted. Kris Adams dropped a pass. Look at these names around him: Avery, Adams, LaVon Brazill, and Vick Ballard. It's a rough group.
Most importantly, Luck had no time to throw. I charted him getting hit eight times. He was sacked three times and hurried a ton. The offensive line was a great story in the preseason, but they were dominated by the Chicago Bears. Luck was always forced to move off his spot.
The pressure got to Luck. I charted a dozen bad passes, more than his whole preseseason combined. Even when the Indianapolis Colts picked up Chicago's blitz, Luck was often slightly off. Chicago confused Luck with a few looks. Windows closed faster than he expected on two interceptions. Julius Peppers closed faster on Luck than he expected too.
So why was it better than the numbers? Luck still had a handful of "wow" throws. He mostly made good decisions. He moved the ball in both halves. (The Colts had 356 yards of offense.) He was very aggressive in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half and managed it beautifully. He avoided the rush.
This was a learning experience and we expect things to improve dramatically against the Minnesota Vikings this week.
Wilson never looked comfortable in his first start with the Seattle Seahawks. The Arizona Cardinals did a great job containing Wilson in the pocket. Pressure up the middle from Darnell Dockett gave Wilson nowhere to run. He was often inaccurate.
We were impressed by Wilson's ability to battle. He led the Seahawks from a 13-3 deficit to a 16-13 lead in the second half, with a major assist from Leon Washington. With the game on the line, Wilson drove Seattle to the goal line. If Braylon Edwards or Sidney Rice helped Wilson out a little in the last few plays, the conversation would be about Wilson's magical second half.
There was a nice third-and-long touchdown to Rice earlier in the half. There was a beautiful third-and-14 throw to Charly Martin to keep the final drive alive. There were also a lot of incompletions and three and outs. It will take a lot more to get me off the bandwagon.
More than any rookie quarterback, Tannehill looked exactly like he did in the preseason. He didn't have a lot of "wow" moments but he belonged. He stood in tall against the rush. He didn't do a great job going to his secondary receivers. Tipped passes absolutely killed him; that could be a function of staring down receivers. He's better out of the pocket but was not on the run much.
The Miami Dolphins moved the ball pretty well for much of the game against a good defense, but the offense only scored three points. Most of Tannehill's yards came on short passes with a lot of numbers after the catch. This week's matchup against the Oakland Raiders is more inviting if he's protected.
Weeden is the one rookie quarterback we didn't have time to go back and watch on Game Rewind. The "highlights" below will have to do, which might be an act of mercy. It was the worst rookie Week 1 debut in NFL history if you go by quarterback rating.
Our trusty Cleveland Browns correspondent Marc Sessler says Weeden just couldn't string plays together. He didn't complete a ball down the field at all. We wondered all offseason if Weeden was a true fit for Pat Shurmur's conservative West Coast attack. It's a huge adjustment from his college style and it showed.