Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 9/6/12
DAVIE, Fla. Five rookie quarterbacks are scheduled to start opening week games on Sunday: Andrew Luck (Indianapolis), Robert Griffin III (Washington), Ryan Tannehill (Miami), Brandon Weeden (Cleveland) and Russell Wilson (Seattle). Its the first time thats happened in more than 40 years. Last year, only two rookie quarterbacks Carolinas Cam Newton and Cincinnatis Andy Dalton started in Week One. Its going to be a challenge for Ryan, said Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, whose Dolphins open on the road at Houston. No doubt about it. Itll be a challenge for each of the rookies. In the previous three seasons, a total of eight rookies have basically been their teams starting quarterback. The best quarterback rating was last year, when Newton finished 15th in the league with an 84.5 rating. The best record was 9-7, shared by Dalton last season and the Jets Mark Sanchez in 2009. Both teams made the playoffs, and the Jets, fueled by a strong defense and a clock-controlling ground game, advanced to the AFC Championship game. But those are anomalies. You cant expect any of this years rookies, even Luck, the No. 1 pick of the draft, or Griffin, the No. 2 pick, to finish in the top half of the NFL in quarterback rating. And you probably shouldnt expect any of them to lead their team to a winning record. On the other hand young quarterbacks should make quite a mark this season. Almost one-third (10 of 32) of the expected opening way starters are will be first- or second-year quarterbacks. For the Dolphins, who have had three consecutive losing seasons, Tannehill represents their first quarterback selected in the first round since Dan Marino in 1983. And Marino didnt even start until the sixth game. In that respect, Tannehill is already ahead of Marino. Im excited to be a starter in the NFL, said the strong-armed Tannehill, who was a somewhat surprising choice as the eighth pick of the draft and the Dolphins starter. Its been a goal of mine for a long time. Im ready for the game. While Wilson is the most improbable rookie starter hes a third-round pick who beat out veteran free agent Matt Flynn Tannehill is also something of a shocker. Many thought this would be a year of learning for Tannehill, the converted wide receiver from Texas A&M. Veteran David Garrard was named Miamis starter before the first preseason game, but he sustained a knee injury and never played and was eventually released. That left Tannehill to battle veteran Matt Moore, the Dolphins MVP last season after leading Miami to a 6-6 record to end the year. Tannehill didnt have an eye-popping preseason statistically. He finished 41-for-78 passing (52.6 percent) for 414 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But his intelligence impressed Philbin. One of the things we like about him is kind of his poise and his demeanor," Philbin said. He seems to be levelheaded. The other part that I like is when he comes off to the side. He has a pretty good understanding of what he just saw and why he may have done something. Tannehill eventually won the battle against Moore, catching some teammates off guard. I wouldnt say I was surprised, wide receiver Davone Bess said. We knew how tight it was. We knew it was going to some real heavy competition. But he was named the starter, and now its time to roll.
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