Grading the sophomore QBs: Russell Wilson is still pretty good
Here's the best and worst of the second-year quarterbacks we saw in Week 1.
We spent all of last season following the rookie quarterbacks, because 1) they were poised to represent the future of NFL signalcallers and 2) there were so damn many of them. You probably know about the five big ones (Andrew Luck, RG3, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden). But we also saw Nick Foles in Philadelphia, Kirk Cousins in Washington and Ryan Lindley in Arizona start games last season (now Foles is backing up Michael Vick, Cousins is behind Griffin again and Lindley is behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton with the Cardinals.
Let’s take a look at how everybody fared in Week 1 in their second years in the league.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks: For much of the day, it looked like some of that Seahawks 2012 magic had faded away, as the team struggled and fell behind the Panthers for much of the day. The offense looked, at best, extremely ordinary, scoring only three points in the first half and six points entering the fourth quarter. But Wilson’s performance (25 of 33, 320 yards, one touchdown) helped Seattle knock off a tough Carolina squad after the Seahawks had to travel across the country. Wilson is still pretty good, OK? Grade: B+
Andrew Luck, Colts: The Colts had to escape a huge upset attempt from the Raiders, and Luck was a big reason why Indianapolis pulled out the win. He started off the game on an amazing click, completing his first 11 passes. But Indianapolis’ offense seemed to disappear for much of the second half, allowing a surprising Oakland team to actually take the lead early in the fourth quarter. But with 5:27 to play, Luck escaped the pocket and scored the game-winning 19-yard rushing touchdown to give his team the win. The Colts barely won, but Luck (18 of 23, 178 yards, two passing touchdowns, one rushing TD) had a solid day. Grade: B+
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins: He got virtually no help from his running game -- Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 18 yards on 17 carries -- so Tannehill had to do most of Miami’s work on offense by himself. He certainly was competent, going 24 of 38 for 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception. And he didn’t have any help from high-priced, free-agent acquisition Mike Wallace, who caught one pass for 15 yards. If Wallace’s quotes after the game are any indication, it looks like Tannehill might have to soothe Wallace’s hurt feelings this week. Otherwise, he can just keep feeding it to Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson (a combined 16 catches for 191 yards). Grade: B
Brandon Weeden, Browns: It feels like I’ve defended Brandon Weeden all offseason by saying, “Hey, his rookie season wasn’t as good as guys like Luck and Griffin, but in historical terms for a first-year quarterback, he was decent enough.” He wasn’t so decent vs. the Dolphins, completing less than 50 percent of his passes for 289 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. After the game, he said he’d never been hit that much before in one game. The 52 passes he threw tied a career high for Weeden, matching his Week 4 performance from last year. So, the moral of the story? Weeden shouldn’t throw that many passes because it’s not a winning formula for this squad. And it’s not good for Weeden’s health. Grade: C-
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