Would you want a rookie quarterback that finished the season with 3,739 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, three fumbles, a 56.7 completion percentage, a quarterback rating of 71.2 and led his team to a 3-13 mark?
If you said no, congratulations—you just said you didn't want Peyton Manning his rookie year.
That's what the Indianapolis Colts' brass and fans must keep in mind with Andrew Luck this season. Luck is going to be a good one—I don't doubt that in the least. But he may show only glimmers of that talent this season.
The lean times are likely to continue in Indianapolis, at least this season.
It's not hard to see why—Luck simply won't have that much help on offense. Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday and Pierre Garcon all departed. Donald Brown hasn't proven much, and while Reggie Wayne will help, he's nearing the end of his career.
And it seems unlikely the defense will win this team many games.
Plus, history suggests that quarterbacks selected first overall generally struggle their rookie seasons. Well, at least their teams do. Consider the following, from Mike Chappell of The Indianapolis Star:
It's a given that quarterbacks taken first overall will struggle early, in large part because they were selected by a team that struggled mightily the previous season. The combined record of the 14 quarterbacks taken first overall since 1989 is 38-105 (.266). Hall of Famer Troy Aikman was 0-11 as a Dallas Cowboys rookie in 1989.
If there ever was a player who could come in and make the best of the situation in Indianapolis, it is Luck. His size and mobility will serve him well. He'll pick up the offense quickly. He's a natural leader, and he'll gel with the Colts' veterans quickly.
But he'll also struggle, both with the higher speed of the NFL and the fact that he won't have many playmakers to make life easier for him. Reading those new, complex coverages won't be made any easier if the offensive line can't protect him.
So have patience, Indianapolis. You're getting the best player in the 2012 NFL draft. Luck is going to be an excellent quarterback.
He just probably won't prove it next season. The deck is too stacked for him to succeed instantly.
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