This weekend, Derek Carr will become the first rookie quarterback in Oakland Raiders history to start a season opener. Raiders coach Dennis Allen announced the first year Fresno State product will get the nod over veteran Matt Schaub, saying Carr has “continued to get better and better, really, in all areas.”
Carr will continue a streak of at least one NFL rookie quarterback starting Week 1 in each season since 2008, joining a group that includes Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson, EJ Manuel, and Geno Smith.
So with Rex Ryan’s defense licking its chops, does the Raiders’ decision really give Oakland the best chance to beat the Jets Sunday? What does recent history tell us should we expect from a rookie signal-caller in the first week of the season?
Of the 14 rookie Week 1 starting quarterbacks since 2008, only five have led their teams to wins (Andy Dalton’s Bengals also won their 2011 opener, but Dalton had been knocked out of the game due to injury). Even the much-heralded 2012 class that saw Luck, RG3, Tannehill, Weeden, and Wilson all start openers only finished 1-4 in their debut games, with Griffin leading Washington to a victory at New Orleans.
Touchdown passes will likely be at a premium Sunday in MetLife Stadium. The 14 rookie first-day starters since 2008 combined to throw a total of 13 scores on opening day, less than one per player. Other than that, their average first-game-ever stats are respectable: 18.4 completions on 32.7 attempts for just over 217 yards through the air.