Andrew Luck had a fantastic 2012 season. On his way to leading the Colts to an 11-5 record, Luck threw for 4374 yds, 23 TDs, 18 INTs and had a completion percentage of 54.1%. Despite putting up very respectable numbers for a rookie quarterback, Luck must improve in a few key areas in 2013 to emulate his success of 2012, and continue to build on his impressive rookie campaign. Luck will want to avoid the renowned ‘Sophomore slump’ many second year quarterbacks fall to.
Firstly as highlighted by Head Coach Chuck Pagano, Luck must run less. Whether or not this is a direct fault of Lucks or the offensive line’s inability to protect him, there is no doubt that Luck needs to refrain from straying from the pocket and galloping for first downs with his legs. Don’t get me wrong Andrew Luck is an extraordinary athlete, and we know he can make plays with his legs, of which can be a great weapon for the Colts, but it takes only one flagrant hit to end a season and if Luck were to go down that would have disastrous consequences for the Colts. Luck needs to stand in the pocket more and cut out the Ben Roethlisberger type of plays that lead to him taking hits he doesn’t need to. If a safe clear running path isn’t available and all receivers are tied up, just throw the ball away. Luck needs to stay upright for the Colts to be better than they were a year ago. With an improved line this year through free agent acquisitions Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas, accompanied by rookies Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes, Luck should feel far more confident sitting in the pocket, and less of an urge to take off on the ground.
Another key area Luck must improve in is interceptions. Luck threw a relatively high number of picks last season, above an average of 1 a game. Luck threw 18, which was equal third most in the NFL with Mark Sanchez, just one less than league leaders in interceptions thrown: Tony Romo and Drew Brees. Although not a great concern for a rookie quarterback, interceptions are a part of Luck’s game he must cut out if he wishes to improve as a sophomore quarterback, although under new offensive co-ordinator; Pep Hamilton’s ‘No coast’ offense, interceptions should be far less frequent than under previous co-ordinator Bruce Arian’s vertical passing attack. I throughly expect Luck’s interception totals to decrease and his touchdown totals to increase this season, also expect to see his completion percentage shoot up above 60% this season due to the new offensive scheme which is more favorable to short intermediate passes. Completion percentage is another area it can be argued in which he must improve in to be more successful in 2013.
For Andrew Luck there is no glaring areas in which he must improve substantially to enter the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks. In my opinion he is the complete package. He possesses elite arm strength and accuracy, he is far more athletic than he gets credit for (remember he ran a 4.67 at the 2012 combine), he is very smart and displays an infectious enthusiasm for the game which only makes him a great teammate and leader for the Colts. He is only going to get better as the years go on. As for this season if Luck manages to scramble less (although he has been known to make game changing plays with his feet) therefore avoiding more hits, manages to limit the number of interceptions he throws and completes a higher percentage of passes, expect Andrew Luck to be one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL this season, surpassing all other starting sophomore QB’s.