Rookie QB Comparison: Taking Their Show On The Road

50 yard line on an american football field

Part I: Performance vs. Top 10 Defenses
Part II: Trended Performance Over First Three Months
Part III: Home vs. Road Performance
Part IV: Performance on Deep Throws
Part V: Calm in the Clutch

An important aspect of evaluating any quarterback is whether they can lead their team on the road. Defenses bring out their most exotic looks when playing in front of their home crowd. Offenses tend to be more jittery and struggle with communication due to crowd noise. Let’s look at how the rookie quarterbacks from this year are faring so far.

Russell Wilson has made headlines with a home passer rating that not only leads all rookies, but leads all NFL quarterbacks. The flip side is that he has had the worst road passer rating of any of the rookie quarterbacks. He is roughly half the player on the road, up until now. It should be noted that three of his five road contests came in the first four weeks of the season, and we know that he is a much different quarterback now than he was then. His last road game was against Detroit, a Top 10 defense, where he finished with a 96.8 rating.

Robert Griffin III has been sterling on the road. That is a great sign for his development. The Redskins played three of their five road games in the first month of the season, when Griffin surprised NFL defenses with his talent and style of play. His last two road games were against the Giants and the Steelers (another Top 10 defense), and his results were mixed. He has not yet had a breakout game against a top defense on the road the way Wilson has. That is a next step to look for, but it is hard to argue with Griffin’s ability to lead his team on the road.

One of the most fascinating findings was how much better Brandon Weeden has been on the road. Weeden has faced some of his toughest competition away from home, including the Giants, Baltimore (also at home), Cincinnati and the Colts. I don’t know how Weeden is treated by the home crowd, but the team has been bad, so one explanation may be that he and the team are playing more care-free away from the judging home fans.

Andrew Luck is barely better than Wilson on the road. He has won his last two road games, however, while posting passer ratings of 89.5 and 80.1. Neither Tennessee nor Jacksonville qualifies as a tough road opponent, so it will be interesting to see if Luck can play well @Detroit or @Houston later this season.

Ryan Tannehill is the same mediocre player no matter where he is. Now, there is something to be said for consistency. If he can start to improve his play, it looks like it should transfer to wherever field his team is on.