Gregg Rosenthal will watch every snap that that the five NFL rookie starting quarterback take this year and rank them based on their performance that week. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
The five rookie quarterbacks all excelled this week. It's almost unsettling. Quarterbacking in the NFL shouldn't look this easy.
1. Andrew Luck
Luck gets the top spot this week because he continues to excel in two areas. His ability to avoid pressure is uncanny. I'd argue it's already an elite trait. He's also been excellent in the two minute drive in both weeks. The Indianapolis Colts got the ball with 1:11 left in the first half. Luck drove them for a touchdown on a gorgeous throw to Reggie Wayne. The play showed off all of Luck's skills with a nice touch pass over the linebacker and between two safeties after rolling right and taking a big hit. Luck also calmly moved the ball 45 yards in only 23 seconds to set up the game-winning field goal.
Luck's feet were so key in this game. He ran for first downs, sometimes when the Minnesota Vikings defensive look confused him. Luck avoided an unblocked defender (Brian Robison) to avoid a safety on the goal line. Luck ran away from Jared Allen to complete another pass. Luck's protection was slightly better in this game, but still not very good. Occasionally, Luck's feet got him in trouble like on a 22-yard sack in the fourth quarter.
We could quibble with the fact Luck had a number of inaccurate throws again, but this was a sensational performance overall. he showed huge onions. He's already making his teammates better. Do not forget this is an offense where Donnie freaking Avery is the most explosive player.
Everything RG3 does is fast. The running is obvious, but it shows up everywhere else in his game. On his first pass of the game, Griffin's primary read was on the right sideline. Two receivers there were covered. He looked to the seam. That was covered. He found his third option all the way to his left. His release was fast. The pass was a fastball to beat tight coverage. Completion. This all happened in a blink.
The St. Louis Rams defense was largely prepared for Mike Shanahan's bag of tricks. That was not the case, however, on Griffin's beautiful long touchdown to Leonard Hankerson that traveled 62 yards in the air. Griffin was smart and decisive knowing when to run, but the Washington Redskins probably don't want him running eleven times each week. (He gained 82 yards and two scores.) If we had to find one thing to work on, Griffin is occasionally not throwing with anticipation when his receivers aren't clearly open.
RT1's performance slipped under the radar. It wasn't all about the matchup against the Oakland Raiders' hapless secondary. Tannehill made a lot of great stick throws outside the numbers. He delivered the ball with pressure in his face. He's prone to some wild throws, but the Miami Dolphins did a much better job getting him on the move. Tannehill can roll in either direction and look very comfortable. There were no tipped passes.
It's remarkable that a 300-yard, Cleveland Browns' franchise record-setting performance only comes up fourth on this list. Weeden got very good protection overall, but the most positive moments of this game were three tosses Weeden completed just before he was hit. His footwork can look lumbering at times, but he dealt with pressure much better in this game.
The numbers were a bit misleading because Weeden completed a lot of dump offs to backs. (Sometimes on third and long.) Cincinnati's linebackers were awful in coverage. Weeden sometimes doesn't look natural or comfortable, but he showed off his strong arm and had a very nice touch pass score to Greg Little. He was much more accurate. We still don't know what to think about Weeden, but this game showed he can be productive when he gets help around him.
Save the angry emails, Seattle Seahawks fans. I picked your team to win the NFC West and love to watch Wilson. He came in fifth because this was a ridiculous week for rookie quarterbacks and Wilson wasn't asked to do much. Special teams gave him a 10-0 lead. One 14-play drive only required one completion. Another 88-yard touchdown drive only required two.
Wilson did a nice job doing everything he was asked to do. Dallas rushed three for much of the game, and Wilson showed patience going to his secondary reads and checking the ball down. He made quick decisions when they were available. He made a nice stick throw to Sidney Rice over the middle. Wilson has struggled a bit on deep balls and can leave the pocket too quickly, but this was a very clean performance where the Seahawks defense, running game, and special teams did the heavy lifting. Just like Pete Carroll wants.