As I watched the Colts come back from dead and overtake the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night in Indianapolis, I was impressed by Andrew Luck’s ability to keep his team motivated and lead them down the field over and over again. In this day and age, in a sports landscape filled with prima donnas, Andrew Luck has the makeup to be a true leader of men and he showed his ability as such in Saturday’s Wild Card matchup. However, I have also never heard a player walk away from a game with the type of kudos and hype that this player has surrounding his name after he almost cost his team a victory. He put his team in a 28 point hole and was fortunate to help lead them back.
After the game, his head coach Chuck Pagano said “There’s been some great ones…but he’s gonna go down as probably one of the best, if not the best, ever to play this game when everything is all said and done. We’re very, very fortunate to have No. 12 on our side.” The best to ever play the game!? After one playoff win over Alex Smith?! One playoff win in which Andrew Luck threw 3 interceptions and allowed his team to fall behind by 28 points in the second half!? Are we really ready to call him one of the best, if not the best ever?
Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson said “He’s always been a different animal in the fourth quarter, his whole life, and just even hearing the story from his uncle. He relishes those moments. It’s like Jordan when he’d take that last shot — he wants the ball. This guy, we’re so blessed, he wants the ball in those situations.” He’s like Michael Jordan? Who are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning like then, two players who have won Super Bowls and done it all in their careers? Last year people were talking about how Andrew Luck wasn’t even the best QB drafted in his class (anyone remember RG3). He’s still done less than Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have in their comparable playing careers. However, it’s always fashionable to break out the Michael Jordan comparisons after a player wins one playoff game.
Let’s look at the numbers from Luck’s second season. His 87.0 QB rating was good for 20th best in the league, behind the likes of Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Josh McNown and the before mentioned Alex Smith. His 23 TD passes on the season were less than both Carson Palmer and Ryan Tannehill. He finished 17th in Yards/Game, behind Joe Flacco, Robert Griffin and many others who would never be mentioned in the same breathe as Michael Jordan or the words “best ever.” He’s 1-1 in his postseason career with 4 TDs and 4 INTs, which to the naked eye reflects mediocrity instead of the Hall of Fame.
If Andrew Luck doesn’t get one of the luckiest bounces in the history of football, he would be watching the Divisional Playoffs on the couch this weekend and the experts would be talking about his 0-2 postseason record and 3 INTs against the Chiefs. We’d be hyping up Alex Smith and Andy Reid and the Colts would be an afterthought. We’d be saying that Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are the future of the QB position in the NFL. The Colts brass might be wondering what things would be like if they had Peyton Manning in uniform. However, the ball bounced the right way, Luck made a great play to leap into the end zone and the comeback continued. Luck took advantage of his good fortune but does that make him the greatest QB ever?
I think Andrew Luck could end up being great. I expect him to win in a serious manner in the NFL during what should be a long career. Almost any team would want him to lead their franchise into the future and the Colts still made the right move letting Peyton go, even if they are a bit weaker in the immediate future. As a Jet fan, I would trade Geno Smith for Andrew Luck in a heartbeat. With all that said, everyone needs to let him create his own legacy. He does not need to be compared to every great QB to ever strap on a helmet, nor to possibly the greatest athlete ever in Michael Jordan. His numbers have been solid but not special, his potential is excellent and he possesses a lot of the intangibles that lead us to believe he’ll be a star. Enjoy watching him play this weekend (I believe he’ll beat Tom Brady), but keep the expectations to a reasonable level. He can’t win 6 championships in less than 2 full seasons and if the G.M. is expecting legendary player, Andrew Luck will most certainly disappoint even with an All-Pro career.
With both the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers both winning, the Sports Debaters have started with a perfect 2-0 record in our playoff predictions. Yesterday’s games were relatively easy to predict while today’s quality matchups are not so cut and dry. I have to admit that while the Packers and Vikings always provide entertaining games, the battles that are happening today are the teams we were really looking forward to watching. I mean out of the two games today there are THREE rookie Quarterbacks starting. That is absolutely unreal! Here are our previews and predictions for the Sunday’s NFL Wild Card games.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens: The first contest of today’s games features two completely different squads. The Colts enter the game as one of the youngest teams in the NFL, while the Ravens boast one of the oldest. Indianapolis’ turn around is nothing short of remarkable as they were the worst team in the the league last year. With the first pick of the draft the Colts chose the heavily sought-after Andrew Luck who they expected to help rebuild their once prominent franchise. Little did they know that he would be able to return them to glory in his rookie campaign. Andrew Luck is starting to look eerily similar to the last quality QB that led the Colts to the Super Bowl not to long ago. The Ravens seem to always be in the AFC Playoffs and their way of getting there is usually the same strategy…DEFENSE! Sunday will mark the last ever home game for arguably the greatest linebacker in NFL history, Ray Lewis. Lewis announced he was retiring after this year, so the Ravens would love nothing more then to reward the dominant force with his second Super Bowl win. We feel that this game is going to come down to how well the Ravens can manage the clock. For Baltimore to be successful, they must be able to ride Ray Rice the entire game. If Flacco is relied on too heavily then the Ravens will sputter. For the Colts to win, they must clamp down on the defensive end and make sure that Rice doesn’t eat them alive. Luck will be able to provide enough offense to give them a win so if the defense plays their part then the Colts will move on. All that being said, we feel that the greatest story in football this year, Chuck Pagano, will have lots of Luck on his side to upset the Ravens in Baltimore.
Prediction: Colts 27 – Ravens 23
Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins: The second matchup on Sunday is without question the most intriguing Wild Card matchup in this year’s playoffs. Two of the most fascinating rookie QB’s in recent memory will face off in what should be a great NFC rivalry for year’s to come. The NFL Draft had the football world buzzing this past year with plenty of potential superstars, but one player that no one was talking about after the draft was the Seahawks Russell Wilson. In the offseason, Seattle went out on the Free Agent market and signed Matt Flynn to a big contract, so everyone thought that Wilson was being drafted to play the role of backup. A few months and a training camp later and Flynn found himself relegated back to his familiar spot on the bench while Russell Wilson proved that he shouldn’t have been overlooked by so many. Wilson plays with a poise that is rare to see in most veterans let alone a rookie who had to fight his way into the starting lineup. Benefiting from Wilson’s beautiful play is Marshawn Lynch who broke out with a career year and deserves way more recognition then he has been receiving. NYBobby and myself were talking about how sick Lynch has been these past few years yet he is never mentioned when people talk about the premiere backs in the NFL. Wilson and Lynch are going to have a hard time finding a grove as they will be playing in a Redskins stadium that hasn’t hosted a playoff game in 13 years. The Washington Redskins season has been quite a roller coaster as they started the season a dismal 3-6 and ended it with 7 straight wins to take the tough NFC East title. We feel that RG3 is the front runner for Rookie of the Year based solely on the fact that he completely redefined the QB position this season. He runs like a Pro Bowl back and throws like a Pro Bowl QB. He manages the clock like a seasoned veteran and he seems to be making everyone around him better. Along with RG3’s masterful play this season, we have witnessed the emergence of Alfred Morris, who looks like he will be a top back for many more years. The back and forth combination of Griffin and Morris has confused the hell out of every opponent in the second half of the season and we are expecting nothing less in this playoff matchup with Seattle. If the stadiums were reversed and the Seahawks had the advantage of their “12th man” then our prediction could have easily been swayed, but with the momentum that the Redskins have as well as Coach Mike Shanahan’s playoff resume, we feel that RG3 will escape this fun contest with his first ever playoff W.
Prediction: Redskins 21 – Seattle 16
Check in next week for our previews and predictions for next weeks playoff matchups and more!
Every year there seems to be one person that emerges from the NFL Draft and represents themselves as a dying franchises savior. This season, there is not only one player, but three, that have completely redefined and revamped franchises that seemed to be slowly deteriorating. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have all taken the reigns over their teams and not only improved them but they all turned them into potentially dangerous playoff teams. The great thing about these three superb athletes is that they have all taken a different approach to the new age NFL and made it look extremely easy to succeed in a league that players average only 3 years for an entire career. A lot of people say that it takes time to develop at the professional level, but when you are born with the God given talents that these three players possess, time is no longer a necessity.
Andrew Luck was the first overall pick of the NFL Draft. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts after they finished the season with a league worst 2-14 record. Luck was given the very unpleasant task of filling the shoes of arguably the greatest QB of all time, Peyton Manning. The last time the Colts had the #1 overall pick in the draft was when they took Manning 14 years ago. Manning showed signs of brilliance but the Colts still finished with a less than impressive 3-13 record in his rookie campaign. Luck on the other hand has taken the worst team in the NFL and turned them into a playoff bound 9-5 electrifying squad that has the 8th best passing attack in the league. Andrew set the NFL Rookie record for most passing yards in a single game by torching the Miami Dolphins for 433 earlier this season. More impressively, Luck has already passed the NFL Rookie record for most yards in a season (3,739) set by Manning back in 1998 by already accumulating 3,978 and he is on pace to break the all time rookie mark that Cam Newton set last year when he threw for 4,051. Luck has shown signs of some rookie jitters but all in all he has looked like a seasoned professional and has an unbelievably bright future ahead of him.
Luck Stats: Passing Yards 3,978, 308 completions, 20 Touchdowns passing and 5 Touchdowns rushing
The second overall pick of this past year’s NFL Draft was the Heisman Trophy winning Robert Griffin III. The man they can RG3 has taken the NFL by storm and has redefined how coaches will look at the Quarterback position. He runs as well as any running back (most rushing yards for a rookie QB 748 and counting), he throws as hard and accurate as any Quarterback and he manages a game as well as any coach. He plays the game at the pro level like he has been there for decades yet he has only started 13 games all season. He started the season working out the problems that led the Redskins to the NFL’s second worst record from a year ago and now has them sitting on top of the best division in football, the NFC East. Washington started slow with a 3-6 record, but the emergence and maturation of RG3 has led to the Skins reeling off 5 straight victories and now they have complete control over their own destiny. RG3 has impressed everyone and even though he suffered a little set back a couple of weeks ago when he injured his knee, he is still bound to have an NFL MVP award within a handful of years.
RG3 Stats: Passing Yards 2,902, Rushing Yards 748, 18 Passing Touchdowns to only 4 Interceptions, 6 Rushing TD’s, Best YPC in NFL 6.7
Rarely does the 75th overall pick of the NFL Draft make a big impact on his team in their rookie season, let alone lead them at the QB position to a playoff bound 9-5 record. That is exactly what Russel Wilson has done this season after stealing the starting QB position from the highly touted, waste of money signing, of the Green Bay Packers, Matt Flynn. In the preseason Wilson showed signs of a mobile QB that had the ability to sling the ball down field. He had great command for the game and was a perfect complement to the running attack that Pete Carroll, who I despise by the way, implemented with the ever-talented Marshawn Lynch. While Wilson’s stat line isn’t nearly as impressive as Luck’s or RG3’s, his game management and record sure as hell are. The Seahawks are known as a defensive reliant team yet Wilson has led his team to back to back games that have totaled more than 100 points combined. On top of that, with two games remaining in the season, Wilson has helped lead his team from a 7 win season a year ago to 9 already this year. While I don’t think Wilson will be able to steal the NFL Rookie of the Year away from Luck or RG3, I do feel that he will be a playoff QB for many more years.
Wilson’s Stats: 2,697 Passing Yards on 63% completion percentage, 402 Rushing Yards, 21 Passing Touchdowns
The deadly week 7 is upon us and every fantasy football owner in the world is shaking in their boots. Teams on their bye this week are the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers. Throughout those teams there are some real fantasy studs that need to be replaced this week like Matty Ice, Peyton Manning, Jamal Charles and LeShawn McCoy. With big names like these on the bench this week, fantasy owners are scrambling to fill their rosters and pick up the best players available on the waiver wire. Well I’m here to make your decision making a little easier.
The #1 draft pick from this past years draft is making his first appearance on the Sports Debaters Sleepers article…he should be honored. With 4 regular fantasy starting quarterbacks on bye weeks (Peyton, Ryan, Vick, Rivers), many owners need to find a reliable replacement. Andrew Luck has been having a pretty solid rookie campaign throwing for nearly 300 YPG. One of Luck’s issues, which is common among rookies, is his turnovers. Through his first 5 games, Luck has thrown 7 picks and fumbled 3 times. Luckily for Luck- see what I did there- he has the privilege of facing the god awful Cleveland Browns this week on his home turf. With the Colts starting tailback, Donald Brown, out for the near future, Luck will have a lot more responsibility in an already pass-friendly offense. I can see this being Luck’s best game as a starter for the entire season. If your regular starting QB on your fantasy team is off or injured this week, or if your QB just has a tougher matchup then your comfortable with, Luck is a must start.
Predictions for week 7: 28-50 for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2 rushes for 15 yards
The Washington Redskins have been an anomaly this season. They have won games they should have lost, lost games they should have won, they have star players injured and no name rookies exploding for ridiculous numbers, i.e. Alfred Morris, and they are doing all of this with a rookie QB, who in my mind is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. In week 1, RG3 found a favorite target in Pierre Garcon but since Garcon got shook up in that game he hasn’t been the same since. RG3 has had to find other help like Morris, Fred Davis and the always reliable Santana Moss. This week in their division matchup against the first place New York Giants, RG3 is going to need to unload his entire bag of tricks and I think that will start by introducing the second year man out of Miami, Leonard Hankerson, to the world. Hankerson has already showed signs of talent and he even had a game in week 3 where he was targeted 11 times against the Bucs in a Redskins thrilling win. With Garcon most likely not playing again this week, RG3 will be taking advantage of Hankerson’s speed and I see this being a breakout game for the sophomore. The Giants secondary is nothing to brag about but they have been playing better of late, but knowing Tom Coughlin, their focus will be on the Redskins ground game. That leaves the field open for my man Hankerson.
Predictions for week 7: 7 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown
Greg Olsen has been driving fantasy owners, including myself, crazy for years. The six year man out of the University of Miami has extremely reliable hands and is one of the best rout running Tight Ends in the NFL. So why are his numbers so inconsistent? No one knows. Olsen has had the second most targets on his team and is only 4 behind Cam Newton’s favorite target Steve Smith. The 1-4 Panthers have been a huge disappointment this year and I honestly don’t think things are going to get any better. This week they go up against the reeling Dallas Cowboys in a game that I can all but guarantee the Panthers will lose. Dallas will score early and often forcing Cam to try and comeback on his arms and not his legs. Smith will get his targets and even Lafell will get some looks, but I think the biggest receiving performance for the Panthers will come from Olsen. I’m expecting Olsen to be the recipient of a lot of short dump passes from Newton when he feels DeMarcus Ware breathing down his neck. Olsen also has the potential for some big plays up the seam. With Tony Gonzalez on bye week, I feel that Olsen can feasibly have the best week out of any TE in the league…plus he has a ridiculously hot wife!
Predictions for week 7: 9 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown
I remember a time when Carson Palmer was a must start in every league 8 teams or more, when Chad Johnson was a respectable and feared receiver and the Cincinnati Bengals were an extremely scary team to face. How things change. Now Palmer is at the helm of one of the laughing stocks of the NFL. The Oakland Raiders are so beyond bad that success does not seem like it will be coming any time soon. Arguably two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Jaguars (1-4) and Raiders (1-4) face off in a battle that will prove who is actually on the bottom of the league. The Raiders are pathetic but I think the Jaguars might be worse. While Palmer’s season ending numbers won’t be anything to hang on the refrigerator, I think this week will be a successful one for the former #1 draft pick out of USC. Palmer is coming off of his best start of the season (23-53 353 yards 1 TD 1 INT) against an Atlanta Falcons defense that is more than impressive. This weeks task is much easier and if you are in need of a quarterback this week and Andrew Luck is already taken, Palmer will be a very safe and smart start.
Predictions for week 7: 24-46 for 320 yards and two touchdowns
Information surfaced early yesterday that Rashard Mendenhall and Issac Redman will both be inactive for the Steelers Sunday Night Football matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. Jonathon Dwyer is the Steelers third tailback and will now be the starter with the top two backs out with injuries. He will be splitting runs with their fourth tailback, Baron Batch, but Dwyer will be seeing the majority of touches in the backfield. Dwyer is yet to do anything of significance this season but this will be a game where he can prove his worth. It is a nationally televised game against a team that just fell to the only team without a win in the NFL. The Bengals are falling from grace really fast and since Big Ben and company are coming off of a surprising loss themselves, this game is a must win for Pittsburgh. I do feel that majority of the Steelers offense will rely heavily on the air attack, but that doesn’t mean Dwyer won’t benefit from that. Dwyer has wicked fast speed and if he is lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a Roethlisberger screen pass, he can easily take at least one to the house. I think this game can be the answer to whether or not the three year man out of Georgia Tech can be a formidable option in the NFL.
Predictions for week 7: 15 rushes for 80 yards and a touchdown, 4 receptions for 50 yards
1. Cam Newton is officially in a Sophomore Slump. After a stellar Rookie year which lead to some NFL “experts” predicting an MVP type season, Newton has struggled out of the gate and has led the Panthers to a 1-4 start. In last week’s game, Cam did literally nothing the entire game, but due to a Carolina defensive TD to open the second half, the Panthers found themselves on the 5 yard with a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter. With the score 16-10 on 4th and goal, the Panthers rolled Cam out to the right and had a wide open man in the end one for a game winning score. Newton decided to throw a bounce pass at his target, channeling the great John Stockton. Unfortunately, on a football field, the ball doesn’t bounce off the turf and even if it does, the referees will usually call it incomplete (unless they are replacement refs). Cam, it’s time to quit the Superman act if you keep playing like Quailman.
2. The NFC West is much better than we thought. My Superbowl Champion pick from May, the San Francisco 49ers are coming off two dominating performances in which they outscored their opponents by 84. The Arizona Cardinals are sporting a 4-1 record and look to have the defense to keep up the good play in the next few weeks. The Seattle Seahawks at 3-2 have played reallly well as Pete Carroll has led his team to wins in Carolina, against the Packers and even their two loses were close games at both the Giants and Cowboys. Rounding out the division is the 3-2 Rams, who have played much better under Jeff Fisher, as they are coming off a Thursday night victory in which they handed the Cardinals their first defeat of the year. Two years ago, the NFC West was won by Seattle with a 7-9 overall record and NFL fans were calling it one of the worse divisions in history. Obviously, all 4 teams have rebounded well in a very short period of time.
3. Andrew Luck does not look like a Rookie. One of the most surprising teams in the league thus far has been the Luck lead Indianapolis Colts, as they honored their Head Coach Chuck Pagano with a shocking win against the Green Bay Packers. Pagano was diagnosed with a curable form of leukemia early last week and nobody would have blamed the Colts if they came out against the Packers slow. Andrew Luck would not allow that to happen. The overall #1 pick went toe to toe with the defending MVP Aaron Rodgers, and outlasted one of the best QBs in the game for a thrilling 30-27 win. He went 31 for 55, throwing for 362 yards, 212 of them to Reggie Wayne. He is quickly making Colts fans feel better about their divorce form the legendary Peyton Manning. Luck brings the Colts into Met Life this week to face the Jets, in what will be a make of break game for both teams. As a Jet fan, I’m not feeling overly confident.
4. NFL Records are not nearly as big a deal as MLB records. It was cool to see Drew Brees break Johnny Unitas’s record of consecutive games with a TD pass, but on the real, I had no idea the record was held by Unitas or what the number was. There are a few NFL records that do stand out from the others, Emmit Smith’s all-time rushing record, Rice’s insane amount of receiving feats, Favre’s consecutive games played, the 17-0 Miami Dolphins, but overall, football is not a sport built on these statitistics. All sports fans know about Cal Ripkin’s streak, DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak, CY Young’s victories, and the numerous HR records that have unfortunately been set by juicers in recent years. Baseball is a game about numbers, football is game based on action and violence. Not to take away from Brees’ accomplishment, it is truly impressive. To me, it’s just really not as exciting as the media and NFL made it out to be. Hell, they even let Sean Peyton in the building to watch!
5. It’s almost time to pull the plug on Michael Vick. The athletic, talented dog killer has become a huge liability for the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick seems to be allergic to the football lately. He has fumbled the ball 8 times, losing 5 of them in the early season. The Eagles are a very lucky 3-2 and could easily be 0-5 due to Vick’s carelessness. With his 5 lost fumbles, Vick has also thrown 6 picks to lead the league with 11 turnovers (thats even more than Sanchez!) With all the weapons Vick has in Philladelphia, he needs to get the ball out of his hands and let his playmakers like Lesean McCoy, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin make plays for him. I don’t think it’s time yet to make a move, but Andy Reid’s job is on the line and if he doesn’t at least alter his game plan to hide Vick’s flaws a little bit more, Reid will find himself on the unemployment line at the end of the season.
The NFL regular season is around the corner and teams are getting their rosters in order. It is never easy to succeed as a rookie in the NFL and it is even harder to do so as a Quarterback. Last season was proof that you really can rebuild a team around a rookie QB, as was evident with how Cam Newton took the football world by storm and brought the Carolina Panthers back to relevancy. As of noon this morning, 4 different teams have announced that they will be starting a rookie quarterback during week 1 of the NFL season. Andrew Luck (Colts), Robert Griffin III (Redskins), Brandon Weeden (Browns), and most recently Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins) were all named opening day starters for their respective teams and all the pressures of the NFL world have been placed on their shoulders. A fifth rookie, Russell Wilson (Seahawks), is slated to start for the first time in Seattle’s third preseason game, but I feel that when the regular season roles around, the Seahawks Free Agent pickup, Matt Flynn, will be their starter. In this article, I will break down how each of the 4 starting rookies will pan out over their freshman season.
Never has the expression “big shoes to fill,” rang more true than it does for Andrew Luck and the man he is replacing. Former Indianapolis QB, Peyton Manning, is one of the best of all time and now Luck has the unfortunate privilege of following his legacy. Luck was drafted as the number 1 overall pick of the NFL draft and is off to a sizzling start to his first ever preseason. Just 2 games into the preseason and Luck already has a couple of passing touchdowns along with a rushing TD which definitely is not his forte. If you’re counting, that’s 3 more touchdowns than the entire Jets team this preseason. While he has already been picked off twice, the poise and comfort he shows on the field has been impressing everyone. With the former Stanford star player so well in preseason and at training camp, NFL analysts are picking his beneficiaries in the receiver positions as some of the better fantasy options for the new season. With Reggie Wayne looking healthy and determined to prove he can succeed without Peyton and Austin Collie trying to make the 2012-13 season a healthy and improved one, Luck has options to help him along the way. Andrew’s former college teammate, Tight End Coby Fleener, was also drafted by the Colts and is looking like he can be a formidable option for Luck to build stats off of. Luck’s got the size, skills and fortitude to succeed right away in this league and I think he will do just that.
Predicted Stats: 28 Touchdowns, 12 Interceptions, 3,600 Passing Yards
Robert Griffin III:
Unlike Luck, RG3 doesn’t have a predecessor that is even worth mentioning. What Griffin does have though is the comparison of last season’s break out rookie sensation Cam Newton weighing down on him. I have said from the get go that while Luck is without question the better prototypical QB between him and Griffin, I feel that RG3 will lead his team to more wins this season. RG3 not only won a Heisman Trophy with Baylor, he absolutely demolished all of their school’s records with his ridiculous athleticism. While Griffin is significantly faster than Newton, his lack of size can cause him some trouble at the professional level. The Washington Redskins coach, Mike Shanahan, seems to have the perfect offense for RG3 to excel in and since Griffin has a better arm than Newton does, expectations coming into this rookie campaign are uncomfortably high. Griffin has 3 great targets for him to choose from with veteran Santana Moss, free agent acquisition Pierre Garcon, and feisty Tight End Chris Cooley spreading the field. Since Shanahan still hasn’t confirmed who will be the staring tailback for the Skins this year, it’s feasible to think the RG3 can lead his team in rushing for the season. Having said that, I am a huge fan of Running Back Roy Helu, and I feel that this could be a breakout season for the second year man out of Nebraska. I think Luck will win rookie of the year but I don’t think he will run away with it because Griffin is going to have a brilliant freshman campaign as well.
Predicted Stats: 16 Passing Touchdowns, 10 Rushing Touchdowns, 14 Interceptions, 2,300 Passing Yards, 600 Rushing Yards
Weeden is probably the least known of the 4 quarterbacks I am talking about today but that doesn’t make him the worst…although in this case it’s arguable. I say that with respect because all four of these rookies are going to have above average season’s for newbies. Brandon is replacing Colt McCoy who just never really got his game to the level that we all expected him too. Weeden is taking over a team that has been in the gutter for most of their existence, so he is probably entering the season with the least pressure out of all the rookie QB’s. Weeden does have the luxury of being the second most important rookie on his team since the #3 overall pick, Trent Richardson, will be where all eyes are looking for the beginning of the season. Richardson will be Weeden’s get out of jail free card because all of the teams failures will most likely be pointed at Trent rather than Brandon. The Cleveland Browns have one of the worst Offensive lines in the NFL and Weeden will be under constant pressure. Richardson has great hands and since there really isn’t a quality receiving option other that Greg Little on the Browns, you can expect Trent to be Weeden’s go to guy. Unlike Luck and Griffin, Weeden will be replaced if he doesn’t show signs of progression early on in the season. McCoy remains on the team and will be the Browns starting QB if Weeden doesn’t find a way to make his offense work. If veteran Tight End, Benjamin Watson, can remain healthy throughout the year then he can help Brandon stack up yards on short plays over the middle. The Browns are going to be terrible once again but I feel Brandon Weeden will show signs of a quality QB in the making.
Predicted Stats: 18 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 2,800 Passing Yards
With Matt Moore playing absolutely awful last season, the door was open for Ryan Tannehill to take over the QB role for the Fins. The Miami Dolphins have never started a rookie QB in week 1, but their new coach, Joe Philbin, thinks Tannehill is the man to break that streak. Not even Dan Marino or Bob Griese had to deal with those pressures, but the 6’4″ gunner out of Texas A&M is ready for the rodeo. Tannehill is the first Dolphin QB drafted in the opening round since they drafted Marino in 1983. Since 83′, the Dolphins have started more QB’s than any other team in the NFL (17). While Ryan is working with one of the better Offensive lines the NFL has to offer, he is without a real quality receiving option which will make his rookie campaign a tough one. It doesn’t help Tannehill that he plays in the AFC East where there are 3 of the better defenses coming at him 6 times a season. I think that Tannehill will have a favorite target in Anthony Fasano and the two of them will connect as one of the better QB-TE combinations in the league. While Reggie Bush is an amazing athlete in the backfield, his blocking is extremely below par and could cause Tannehill to taste a lot of dirt throughout the season. Miami will not be a winning team this season but I think that starting Tannehill behind center is a good step in the right direction.
Predicted Stats: 16 Touchdowns, 11 Interceptions, 2,900 Passing Yards
Even though I feel that all four of these rookies will become successful QB’s in the NFL, I do not feel that any of them will lead their respective teams to the playoffs this season. I love to watch rookies play in the spotlight and I will be following these four young guns throughout the year.