For the first time in NFL history, five teams featured starting rookie quarterbacks under center. After a scarce showing in week 1, week 2 showed signs of promise for these five rookies. From low to high, we’ll evaluate the five rookie quarterbacks and take a look at their production in the first two regular season games of their professional careers.
5. Brandon Weeden – Cleveland Browns
At the age of 28, Weeden is much older than a typical NFL rookie. Reason being is that he was pursuing a baseball career pitching in farm leagues for the Yankees, Royals and Dodgers. Unsuccessful, he turned his attention to football slinging the rock at Oklahoma State, where he led his team to a 12-1 season.
Weeden showed great improvement after his NFL debut where he looked as bad as his stats indicated. After week 2, he went from a 5.1 to a 114.9 passer rating.
Completing 70.3 percent of his passes for 322 yards shows prospect in his future with the Browns.
4. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill is the first rookie quarterback to start in a season opener for the Dolphins. Not even Dan Marino can answer to that unique distinction. Miami has had 17 starting quarterbacks since Marino retired in 1999, more than any other team in the NFL. Drafted #8 overall and after a stellar term under center at Texas A&M, Miami looks for a solid franchise quarterback in Tannehill to run their offence this season.
In week 1, Tannehill struggled when he failed to score a single touchdown. To add insult to injury, he threw 3 interceptions that resulted in a Miami loss by twenty points.
Week 2 was a different story all together for Tannehill. Throwing for 200 yards and 1 touchdown, Tannehill managed to lead the Dolphins to victory over the Raiders.
3. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck had quite a daunting task in his NFL debut. Not only did he face a tough Chicago defense, but he also had to fill the shoes of former Colts QB Peyton Manning. Luck managed to set Colts fans at ease when his first pass of the series resulted in a touchdown. Drafted #1 overall, Luck has high expectations this season and Colts fans are optimistic.
NFL.COM touted luck as “the most NFL-ready rookie quarterback.” Yet, his performance in week one leaves something to be desired.
Week 1 proved to be a struggle for Luck, losing to Chicago by 20 points, but not a complete disappointment by any means. Luck threw for 309 yards and had a QB rating of 52.9.
Luck’s second game at the helm showed signs of poise propelling the Colts to a victory over the Vikings. Luck looked like a seasoned veteran with fourth quarter heroism that allowed the Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri to kick the game winning field goal and give Luck his first NFL victory.
2. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
After playing for North Carolina State, Russell Wilson transferred to the University of Wisconsin where he led the Badgers to a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl Berth. In his college career, he set an NCAA record by throwing 379 consecutive passes without an interception.
Wilson did not have an extraordinary first week out, but what he did display was his great leadership and command of the quarterback position.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said, “He is so prepared. He doesn’t seem like a first-year player.”
Russell Wilson outperforms Andrew Luck thus far because his performance has been consistent, which is key in the NFL.
The Seahawks have a keen way of flying under the radar, and with Russell Wilson under center, I believe they have what it takes win games.
One of the bigger upsets in week 2 was the Seahawks stunning victory over the Cowboys. With a score of 27-7, Wilson threw for 151 yards and 1 touchdown.
1. Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins
After his Heisman winning career at Baylor, Robert Griffin III came into 2012 the season with high expectations. Drafted #2 overall, Griffin or popularly known as RG3, tops the list as the most successful and productive starting rookie quarterbacks of week 1 and 2.
After an impressive outing in week 1, RG3 led Washington to an upset victory over the New Orleans Saints. In awe-inspiring fashion, RG3 outperformed every other rookie quarterback in week 1.
Throwing for an impressive 73.1% completion rate, 320 total yards and a QB rating of 139.0, RG3 came out of the gates and proved his doubters wrong.
In a solid, but unsuccessful second outing for the Redskins, RG3 fell short of his dynamism in week 1. His stats however, still impress, throwing for 206 yards and completing 20 of 29 passes.
RG3 lost the battle against the Rams week 2, when his fourth quarter efforts were shut down partly due to a dropped, wide-open pass to Aldrick Robinson.