The past few days has seen a debate sparked about just how good the Indianapolis Colts quarterback really is and how much of the burden he should be shouldering for this team.
A debate started during the Colts loss against Oakland about whether or not Andrew Luck is to blame for this years failures. This “debate” is trollish and smacks of ignorance, with one party cherry picking stats and facets while saying no one’s opinion matters but their own.
The truth of the matter is that the Colts would be awful without Luck on the roster. 2015 was an aberration and in no way was it even remotely sustainable in the quarterback driven NFL.
Luck is one of perhaps five players on this team that is worth keeping. Without Luck, the Colts would not have made the playoffs from 2012-2014. They would have repeated 2011 on a seemingly endless loop. Luck is the most valuable player on the roster and it really isn’t close.
Whenever someone mentions that Luck isn’t very good or is overrated, ask them who they would realistically prefer to have at QB right now. No, Aaron Rodgers isn’t an answer. Ask them what they expect out of Luck every week and then ask them to consider the roster he has around him.
Against the Raiders, Luck had two bad plays but that doesn’t excuse the defense from giving up five straight scoring drives. When given a clean pocket, Luck had a passer rating of 141.0 (out of 158.3) according to Pro Football Focus. Both of those picks came while under pressure. If you want to be critical, then maybe you can say that Luck should have just taken a sack on one of those interceptions. And the bigger picture this season, Luck is throwing interceptions on just 2.4 percent of his attempts, the second lowest of his career.
If the Colts decide to rebuild, Luck will be and has to be the focal point of the future. He can be brilliant, we’ve seen that time and again, and he has all the attributes you want in a top five quarterback. But he needs help.
The biggest flaw Luck has is that he feels the weight of the franchise rests on his shoulders and his alone. Part of it is due to taking over for a legend, one who set a bar for expectations that no other quarterback in the NFL could ever surpass. The rest is due to Luck not being able to fully rely on his teammates.
Luck has never had a top 15 defense. In fact, since joining the NFL Luck has never had a defense that ranked in the top half of the league in points surrendered. Despite that, Luck has 33 wins, putting him 11th all-time in wins with bad defenses. That means the Colts have to put up an inordinate amount of points to win.
Luck has also never had a rushing attack that ranked higher than 20th in the league. That means Luck has to drop back to pass more often which also means he’s going to take more hits. Do we really need to talk about the shape of the offensive line too?
Consistency has not been something this franchise has aspired to over the past few seasons. They’ve leaned more heavily on Luck than they ever did on Peyton Manning. Luck not only needs help on the field, he needs help from his coaches and that is clearly missing.
The Colts need a strategy that maximizes Luck’s talent and plays into the strengths of the team. The past five years, that strength has been the downfield passing attack. But the current coaching staff would prefer a run heavy offense.
Should the Colts build a dominant ground game? Absolutely. But not at the expense of Luck taking a back seat. When the Colts have had a good ground game, the offense has improved dramatically because they have to respect Luck and whoever is running the ball (probably Frank Gore, but definitely NOT Trent Richardson).
Saying that Luck is terrible, which is objectively not true, just shows your ignorance. He could definitely be better, but Luck isn’t the reason the Colts have struggled this season.
Do you really want to imagine the Colts without Luck? They’d basically be Cleveland. No Colts fan wants that.