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For all three rookies the numbers that most mattered were the W’s. Seattle, which was 7-9 last year, won 11 games, its most in seven seasons. Washington, 5-11 last year, upgraded to 10-6, its best mark since 2005. And Luck presided over a nine-game turnaround, the biggest by the Colts since 1999.
What they have in common is confidence and composure. Luck, whose father, Oliver, quarterbacked the Oilers, already has a touch of Unitas about him. “He’s unflappable,” observed Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano. “Nothing bothers him. He’s his own worst critic but he’s able to put everything behind him and come back. Poor play will not affect him. He’ll make the corrections and he’ll come right back and drive the team down the field for a game-winner.”
Griffin, who was named captain in the middle of a season that began 3-6, planned on being The Man as soon as he turned up from Waco. “Coach drafted me to be the franchise quarterback of this team and that’s what I planned to do from Day 1,” he said. “My goal was to come in and show them that they picked the right guy and to show the team that they could believe in me.”
Few outside of Wisconsin believed in Wilson, who was the 75th player and sixth quarterback chosen. “I’ve been waiting for this my whole entire life,” he said. “You can’t be afraid to excel.”
Wilson is part of the most intriguing opening-weekend story line in memory. “It’s really exciting,” said Carroll. “The guys have done great, they really have, against all the odds and history and stuff. They’ve just been amazing to take their teams into the playoffs.”
John Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.