5 Reasons Andrew Luck Will Disappoint in His Rookie NFL Season
Well, I'm here tell you that he will have a long way to go before he's anywhere near being Elway.
I believe he is going to struggle a lot during his first season, will take his fair share of lumps and have his fair share of learning experiences.
All of those things are customary for most rookie quarterbacks.
Luck may improve enough to be as good as people think someday, but I have five reasons why his rookie season is going to be a bumpy ride.
No. 1: The Expectations Are Too High
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When people anoint someone as the best prospect since John Elway, you better believe there will be some expectations attached.
Andrew Luck is not supposed to play okay and be just another quarterback. He's expected to have the skills necessary to be one of the elite passers in football.
Some people can handle those expectations and take them in stride. Others are not so fortunate.
Luck had a mountain of expectations going into his senior year of college. People were practically handing him the Heisman Trophy before the season even started for goodness sakes.
Luck turned out to be probably the second-best quarterback in his conference behind Matt Barkley.
Now he will enter the NFL under a constant microscope, go to a bad team and replace a guy who was like God to the city of Indianapolis .
No. 2: Peyton Manning's Shadow
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The guy who Luck is going to have replace has a shadow that looms so large, he is the hottest topic during the buildup for a game he's not even in.
With the way things are looking, Manning will be released from his contract in early March and Luck will be given the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of a Hall of Famer.
Ask Brian Griese how that worked out for him when he took over for John Elway in Denver.
Ask Jay Fiedler what happened when he was the guy after Dan Marino.
How about Mark Malone after Terry Bradshaw or Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie after Jim Kelly?
Replacing a legend is never easy.
The people of Indianapolis are still going to be so loyal to their beloved Manning that it may put added pressure on Luck because people will expect him to eventually play and win like him.
Whether or not they have patience to wait for that remains to be seen.
No. 3: The Colts Are a Bad Team
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I think we saw the Colts for what they really were during the 2011 season—a team in desperate need of some other talent besides Peyton Manning.
I once thought that Manning shouldn't have four MVPs in his trophy case, but after watching how bad the Colts were this season, with mostly the same team that won the AFC South in 2010 minus Manning, I think he deserved a fifth without even playing a down.
Unless the Jim Irsay and the Colts front office make some sweeping changes in the offseason, the situation is not going to get much better when Andrew Luck comes into the fold after the draft.
Luck's best weapon will be an aging-but-still-good wide receiver in Reggie Wayne. His second-best option is the oft-injured tight end Dallas Clark.
Luck will have two good running backs in in Joesph Addai and Donald Brown, but with the defense the Colts have, he may be playing from behind a lot and will not be able to fully utilize the talents of Addai and Brown for long stretches of the game.
Outside of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, the Colts defense is pretty bad, ranking 29th against the run and 25th overall during the regular season.
Maybe new head coach Chuck Pagano can get the defense back on track and help Luck and the offense stay in games.
It will take a Manning-like effort to will this team back into contention as it is currently constructed.
Who knows? There is still ample opportunity through the draft and free agency for the Colts to fill some holes.
No. 4: A Defensive-Minded Coach
That same coach that can help him in certain ways can also hurt him.
Chuck Pagano is a defensive-minded coach whose main focus is not going to be on offense.
A prime example of what I'm getting at is Alex Smith in San Francisco.
For most of his career he had defensive-minded coaches (Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary) that didn't always know how to handle a quarterback.
Now look at the difference that Smith is paired with offensive-minded and former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, and it turns into a trip to the NFC Championship game.
Harbaugh would have been the ideal coach for Luck since Harbaugh was his coach in college, and a guy like Harbaugh would groom Luck mentally for the pressures that come with being a quarterback in the NFL.
No. 5: Good AFC Defenses
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With all of those things stacked against Luck already, it's hard to believe that this is probably his biggest problem.
But it is since these guys will actually do bodily harm to him.
There a lot of good-to-great defenses in the AFC that will be licking their chops waiting for a chance to see the No. 1 overall pick, especially one as highly touted as Luck, which puts an instant target on his back.
All of these teams are capable of giving young quarterbacks fits with exotic schemes and disruptive pass-rushes.
These teams are also capable of taking away Luck's first option and forcing him to look for multiple options on the same play, which is something rookie quarterbacks do not do often.