Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week 1 Assessment: Rookie QBs

After Week 1 RGIII possesses the highest QB rating in the NFL. The four other rookie QBs fared far worse and graded from D-minus (Russell Wilson) to F-with potential (Andrew Luck) to F-with potential for vocational schooling (Ryan Tannehill), down to F-with just call the Department of Social Services and get this individual signed up for Disability Compensation and Medicaid as he will be a life-long supplicant of the state (Brandon Weeden). It should also be noted that all of the second-year starters looked promising and ranged from exceptional improvement (Christian Ponder) to solid (Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Cam Newton). Only Andy Dalton--grant it, against a perennially-oppressive Ravens' defense--Mike Tomczak'd it with a 65 QB rating (QBR).

While RGIII was awarded NFC player of the week for his outstanding performance, it's too early to anoint him as the top of the 2012 rookie QB class. The achievement of a road win in New Orleans is undeniable, however RGIII's performance is qualified by the Saints' off-season turmoil which presumably resulted in internal discord and definitely resulted in a one-year interim head coach, and the performance of Redskins' rookie RB Alfred Morris (perhaps another late-round Shanahan RB steal). And, while it likely had minimal if any bearing on RGIII's performance, Drew Brees' uncharacteristic 2 interceptions (he had 6 in 8 home games last season) contributed to the win. It's unlikely that RGIII will repeat week 1's performance many more times this season but DBSF anticipates he'll have the most successful rookie season. Consider the following.

Tannehill and Weeden are non-factors in the rookie QB competition. Their participation on Sundays is perfunctory in nature as the regulations of the NFL demand that the team possessing the football have a quarterback on the field to receive the snap from the center and, thus, signal the start of play--so their presence is more procedural than athletic. DBSF never bought into the Russell Wilson hype as there's a reason scouts overlook 5'11" ex-NC State/ Wisconsin QBs. Luck will probably have more passing yards and touchdowns than RGIII because of the Colts' limited offensive options and because if Jim Irsay wants fans to pay $100+ a ticket for a team everyone knows probably isn't winning more than  six games then he better give them the main attraction throwing the ball 40+ times for 60 straight minutes. In the end, barring injury RGIII will likely end up with the highest QBR and the most wins as Shanahan's system, team circumstances, and schedule are most conducive to that outcome.

All that being said, Brandon Weeden's Week 1 performance deserves closer attention. To provide some perspective on its sheer futility, his 5 QBR was less than half Ryan Leaf's second worst game--a 4-15, 26 yards, 0 TD, and 1 Int in a 1998 loss to the Broncos. It did however surpass Leaf's worst outing--1-15, 4 yards, 0 TD, and 2 int, which equates to a zero-point-zero QBR, in a September 1998 loss to the Chiefs. (Leaf's AFC West divisional play wasn't too strong during his 1998 rookie season. In five games against the Raiders, Seahawks, Chiefs and Broncos he averaged going 9-23, 96 yards, 0.2 TDs, and 1.6 int per game.) In addition to not quarterbacking the worst rookie game in the history of the NFL, Weeden has more room for optimism considering that mathematically speaking his next game will probably be the greatest game-to-game improvement for a quarterback this season in the NFL. If in Week 2 Weeden can complete around half of his passes, throw for about 150 yards and no touchdowns and one or two interceptions then he will have increased his QBR by a multiple of 10-12. (Even Ryan Leaf can't boast that after following up his 0.0 QBR game with a 22.9 QBR [0TD, 4 pics against the Giants] because of complications/ undefined form that arise when zero serves as the denominator.)

No comments:

Post a Comment