Tom Brady probably couldn’t clock a 4.59-second 40-yard dash with the wind at his back while running downhill.
That type of speed and athleticism, combined with a big, accurate arm, is what makes Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck such a rare entity. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound signal-caller plays like he was built in create-a-player mode in "Madden." No receivers open down the field? No problem. Luck can just turn the corner and scramble, breaking tackles on his way to the first-down marker.
Even Brady, with his three Super Bowl rings, envies those skills.
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"Well, he’s a great player," Brady said Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. "He’s in his third year, and he’s had a lot of success. Their offense is doing a great job this year. They score a lot of points, especially at home. He’s kind of the ringleader.
"He does a lot of things that I wish I could do. He’s big, fast, shrugs off (defenders). He makes a lot of extended plays. He’s a great passer. I think they’ve thrown for more yards – at this point in the year – than any other team in history, so I think that speaks to what they’re doing offensively."
Luck, who has 3,085 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions, is on pace to break Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s single-season passing record of 5,477 yards last season. Luck is showing significant improvement with his accuracy and decision-making every season. He completed 54.1 percent of his passes as a rookie, 60.2 percent in his second year and 63.6 so far in 2014. He also has 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries.
Brady has tried to work on his mobility this season, and it’s paying off. The Patriots quarterback was able to extend plays by moving out of the pocket on long completions to wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman against the Denver Broncos two Sundays ago.
"I think I’ve always tried to work hard on those things," Brady said. "I think I just have I have a better understanding of how to accomplish it than I’ve had in the past. I’ve worked hard on it this year, and hopefully it will keep paying off.
"You can’t just stand back there all game and expect the pass protection to work out and get the ball out on time. There’s a lot of times where you’re going to have to ad-lib and make some plays. Our guys have adjusted to that and have made some great plays out of the pocket. We’ll probably have to do that again this week."
Brady won’t say it, but some of his ad-libbing must be related to his worsened pass protection this season. Brady has less time to stand in the pocket, but he still needs to hold onto the ball to allow his receivers to gain separation from defenders.
"You have the play that’s called in the huddle, and then you have the play that breaks down, so really the defense has to cover two plays on every play instead of one," Brady explained. "He’s able to — guys that are able to move really well — they’re able to, like Andrew Luck — he makes a ton of those plays. He’s just — he’s fast enough where he’s able to outrun guys, and he’s strong enough to kind of shrug off blockers and throw to guys when they’re wrapped around his legs and stuff like that. He’s pretty phenomenal at that."