Grading The Rookie Quarterbacks*

*Disclaimer: Only the QBs that have started, so that excludes Colin Kaepernick and Jake Locker; I’m also excluding Christian Ponder since he only has one start*

The NFL season has gotten off to a fantastic start, and now that we’re getting to the bye weeks, I thought I’d take the time to look at the performances of the starting rookie quarterbacks so far this season and give them a grade, so without much further ado, here we go:

Andy Dalton: Record: 4-2,  118-189 passing, 62.4 completion percentage, 1,311 yds passing, 7 TDs – 5 INTs, 1 rushing TD, 84.3 QB Rating: Surprise, surprise, the Cincinnati Bengals are 4-2, who would have thought?  Granted, those 4 wins came against Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis, but a win is a win.  Averaging 218.5 yards per game, he’s made the transition from college to the pros well, taking full advantage of wide receivers A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson.  Dalton really isn’t going to face his first big test until week 10 when the Bengals host Pittsburgh, until then Cincinnati enjoys a bye week this week and then go on the road to Seattle and Tennessee (so many double consonants).  I’ve yet to see Andy massively implode, and by looking at his stats I’m going to grade Dalton’s performance so far as an A.

 

Blaine Gabbert: Record: 1-4, 64-137 passing, 46.7 completion percentage, 758 yds passing, 4 TDs – 2 INTs, 67.7 QB Rating**:  **Note: stats are based only on games started, and because of that the QB Rating was calculated by hand** So, Blaine Gabbert.  He’s been pretty unimpressive so far this season.  The play calling has kept him on a short leash with him only attempting 23.8 passes per game, as compared to Andy Dalton’s 31.5 attempts per game, and Cam Newton’s 36.0 attempts per game.  Not only are his attempts per game low, his completions per game is also at the bottom of the rookie class at 12.8 completions per game.  The one win that he has this season came from an absolutely dreadful game in which both offenses and quarterbacks were subpar.  Gabbert only completed 9 of 20 passes for 93 yards, while Joe Flacco completed 21 of 38 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown on Monday Night, and after a game like that there’s only room to go upward.  To grade Blaine on his season so far I’d give him a solid C, with room to improve.

 

Cam Newton: Record: 2-5, 152-252 passing, 60.3 completion percentage, 2,103 yds passing, 8 TDs – 9 INTs, 7 Rushing TDs, 82.8 QB Rating:  I believe Cam Newton represents the new wave of quarterbacks that are making their way from the college game to the pros in this day and age.  He has the ability to stand in the pocket in the face of pressure to complete passes, and he also has the ability to leave the pocket and lower his head and gain yards with his feet.  He  made his presence known in Week 1 against the Cardinals in Arizona when he set the air on fire by throwing for 422 yards, and then followed that up with a 432 yard performance at home against Green Bay.  Despite the impressive passing stats, it has seemed that the wins just haven’t been in the cards for Newton.  In the Panthers’ 5 losses this season, they’ve been by an average of 7.2 points, so he’s doing his best, but so far just can’t get quite over the hump.  Besides the passing numbers, Newton has also tied the rookie record for rushing TDs in a season with 7, and has Steve Grogan’s overall season record of 12 rushing TDs in his sights.  There was much talk about whether or not Cam would be successful in the NFL, and I think that he has proven his case.  Newton gets an A.

 

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