The NFL’s passer rating formula is far from perfect, but it’s the official metric the league uses to provide a ballpark estimate of how well a quarterback is playing. And according to that metric, the worst starting quarterback in the NFL this year is Andrew Luck.
That seems crazy, but it’s true. Luck’s passer rating of 65.1 is the lowest of all the NFL’s first-string quarterbacks. The only players who have thrown a pass in the NFL this season with a lower passer rating are Bears backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen and Rams punter Johnny Hekker, who threw one pass, an incompletion, on a fake punt.
Luck’s passer rating is lower than that of quarterbacks who have been benched (Brian Hoyer is at 72.7), lower than that of quarterbacks who many observers think should be benched (Josh McCown is at 83.2), lower than quarterbacks who have been roundly criticized for their slow starts (Sam Bradford is at 72.5) and lower than quarterbacks who don’t look ready to play yet (Blake Bortles is at 78.3).
Perhaps most amazingly, all of the other quarterbacks in the 2012 draft class are doing better than Luck. Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden, a bust with the Browns in the same first round when the Colts drafted Luck, has a passer rating of 102.7. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, drafted in the third round in 2012, is at a solid 94.2. Rams quarterback Nick Foles, a 2012 second-round pick of the Eagles, is at 87.5. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, another first-round pick in 2012, is at 85.5. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, a fourth-round pick in 2012, is at 81.3.
At least Luck doesn’t have to worry about his passer rating falling behind the player chosen directly behind him, Robert Griffin III, whose stock has fallen so far that Washington turned him into a scout team safety. There’s no chance of that happening to Luck. But there are questions being raised around the NFL about what has happened to this player who entered the NFL looking like the best quarterback prospect of his generation. Luck is off to a terrible start.