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Rookie Meter: Wilson, Tannehill join rookie QB debate

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Posted Oct. 16, 2012 @ 5:20 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Week One is well in the rearview mirror for this class of rookie quarterbacks, with the youngsters showing an important quality in the NFL — having a short memory.

Most of the NFL debuts by the five rookie signalcallers were ones to forget. Robert Griffin III was the only one to snag a victory, and the five rookies combined for 11 interceptions. 

How times have changed.

In Week Six, the group went 4-1, with the only loss coming for maybe the most talented player in the group, Andrew Luck. Griffin, Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson combined for eight touchdown passes and two interceptions.

RG3 added another signature moment to his resume with a game-sealing 76-yard touchdown run. Weeden’s two touchdown passes helped the Browns get their first win of the season. Tannehill has been interception-free in Miami’s three wins and he threw a pair of scores. Wilson threw three touchdown passes to help the Seahawks upset the Patriots.

Last year’s rookie QB battle featured Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. While this year it appears it will continue to be Luck vs. RG3, the way all five quarterbacks are playing, we could see half of the final Rookie Meter filled out by men who play the most important position on the field. A rookie season is a roller coaster, especially for the heavily scrutinized first-year players under center, but their respective teams — and fan bases — should be pleased with the improvements. Wilson has four wins under his belt, and Griffin and Tannehill each have three wins under their belts through six games.

Like the seasons rookies experience, the Rookie Meter has plenty of fluctuation, and with the recent success of Wilson and Tannehill and last week's struggles by Luck, now is a good time to remind readers that this list attempts to balance present performances and projected finish.

Now, onto the Week Six Rookie Meter:

1. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (first round, second overall)
Last week’s ranking: 1

RG3 returned from the previous week’s concussion to complete 17-of-22 passes for 182 yards, one touchdown and one interception in Washington’s win over the Vikings. He had a passer rating of 97.2. On the ground, Griffin rushed for 138 yards on 13 carries and two scores. He is second among rookies in rushing yards, second in the NFL with six rushing scores and third in the league with his rookie-high 100.5 passer rating.

2. Redskins RB Alfred Morris (6, 173)
Last week’s ranking: 3

Morris rushed for 47 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown and had one catch for nine yards. He leads all rookies in carries and rushing yards, and is tied for third in the NFL with five rushing touchdowns.

3. Patriots DE Chandler Jones (1, 21)
Last week’s ranking: 5

Jones led the Patriots with nine tackles in their loss to Seattle. He added two sacks, a tackle for loss, three quarterback hits and a forced fumble, which was recovered by the Pats. He leads all rookies with five sacks and three forced fumbles.

4. Colts QB Andrew Luck (1, 1)
Last week’s ranking: 2

Luck completed 22-of-44 passes for 280 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions and recorded a passer rating of 51.3 in the Colts’ loss to the Jets. He leads the rookies with an average of 297.6 passing yards a game.

5. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (3, 75)
Last week’s ranking: NR

Wilson takes a big leap in the Meter after leading the Seahawks to an upset win over New England. He completed 16-of-27 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns, finishing his day with a passer rating of 133.7. He leads the rookie QBs with eight passing touchdowns.

6. Browns RB Trent Richardson (1, 3)
Last week’s ranking: 4

Richardson suffered a rib injury in the Browns’ first win. Before the injury, he rushed for 37 yards on 14 carries and had two catches for 17 yards.

7. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (1, 8)
Last week’s ranking: 6

In Miami’s win over the Rams, Tannehill completed 21-of-29 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 112.0.

8. Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (1, 31)
Last week’s ranking: 9

Martin rushed for 76 yards on 13 carries (5.8-yard average) and had two catches for 55 yards in Tampa’s win over the Chiefs.

9. Titans WR Kendall Wright (1, 20)
Last week’s ranking: 10

Wright had six catches for 71 yards on eight targets in Tennessee’s upset win over the Steelers. He maintains his lead among rookie receivers in receptions (33) and receiving yards (285).

10. Buccaneers SS Mark Barron (1, 7)
Last week’s ranking: NR

Barron had eight tackles, two for a loss, an interception and pass defensed in Tampa’s win over the Chiefs.

On the cusp (listed alphabetically)

Buccaneers LB Lavonte David (2, 58)
Bills CB Stephon Gilmore (1, 10)
Browns WR Josh Gordon (undrafted)
Seahawks DE Bruce Irvin (1, 15)
Rams CB Janoris Jenkins (2, 39)
Panthers LB Luke Kuechly (1, 9)
Vikings FS Harrison Smith (1, 29)
Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (2, 47)
Browns QB Brandon Weeden (1, 22)
Broncos DE Derek Wolfe (2, 36)

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