We all know how good Andrew Luck is supposed to be. We all know that he is the best QB prospect since John Elway, etc., etc. But because of that greatness, not many consider Luck a candidate for the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’ season. In fact, there are many out there who believe that Luck is destined to have an MVP caliber season.
Luck had an historic rookie campaign, leading the Colts on 10 successful two-minute drives and taking them from two wins in 2011 to 11 wins in 2012. His play at QB certainly wasn’t perfect, completing only 54.1 percent of his passes with a 76.5 QB rating, but it’s hard to deny the improvements Luck was able to make throughout the course of the year as the stakes got higher.
In 2012, Luck attempted 627 passes and took 41 sacks, and if that’s not taking a beating I don’t know what is.
In year two, Luck has huge expectations and the Colts went all in in free agency this offseason to support him. They improved the offensive line by adding right tackle Gosder Cherilus, as well as Donald Thomas to play left guard. They signed Erik Walden and LaRon Landry to improve the defense, and added Ahmad Bradshaw and Darrius Heyward-Bey to the offensive skill positions.
The Colts were wheeling and dealing when free agency opened back in March, and while Andrew Luck still considers Reggie Wayne to be the leader of the offense, he is the field general and will be instrumental in the success of this team moving forward. Most people I have talked to don’t believe the Colts can even match their win total of 11 from last season, much less eclipse it, but I think they have the roster needed to compete for the AFC South title.
The Texans are obviously still going to be the favorites to win the division, but even late into last season, the Colts proved they belonged in that discussion, and a lot of that had to do with the late-game heroics of their #1 overall pick and NEW leader of the offense–Andrew Luck.
I think from year one to year two, there is no other player under more pressure in the NFL. Everyone has already anointed Russell Wilson and the Seahawks kings of the NFC, while Robert Griffin III is injured and most will be ecstatic if he is suited up and playing in week one of the 2013 NFL season.
For Luck, everything is different. He had the worst rookie season of last year’s ‘Big Three’ statistically, but was able to help his team to the most victories. What Luck was able to do last season was pretty remarkable, and though there were warts and slip-ups, he certainly should be expected to be one of the top QBs in the NFL going forward.
Whether or not he is an MVP candidate remains to be seen. Luck might not put up the greatest numbers in Pep Hamilton’s offense because it is geared much more toward the run than Bruce Arians’ offense was. Hamilton should get the short passing game really involved, so we could see a significant decrease in Luck’s 18 interceptions last season.
With the expectations set as high as they are, I’m interested to see how Luck lives up to them. He certainly doesn’t care much what people in the media think, and he doesn’t pay any attention to the criticism of non-football people. He is a cool customer with excellent work habits, so there’s no doubt in my mind this kid will be greatly improved from year one to year two.
I won’t take sophomore slump off the table for Luck, but I definitely don’t think it’s going to happen. MVP status might also be a bit much to expect of him as soon as his second season, but that has been thrown out there regardless. What Luck is capable of doing as a second year pro is taking the Colts back to the playoffs, which is where they want to be anyway. He doesn’t care about accolades or statistics, as long as the Colts continue adding numbers to the ‘W’ column.
With improved chemistry and some nice new pieces added to the offense, as well as a system he is very used to running, Luck could flourish in 2013. He not only has a chance to be a breakout player, but I think he could find his way to 30 touchdowns and 10 or less interceptions. One thing is for sure–this guy is as advertised.