Comparing Andrew Luck's Stanford Rebuilding Project to Colts' Current Situation
Andrew Luck ran a pro-style offense at Stanford and that must remain true for the No. 1 overall draft pick to have immediate success with the Indianapolis Colts. That said, both teams are going through a brief rebuilding session and keeping the offensive philosophy is the best decision to shorten that period.
It's quite an ironic situation between the two teams as both are going through transition periods that involve the No. 1 draft pick. Here, let's compare the offenses and see how each moves forward in 2012.
How does Stanford's 2012 regular season turn out?
Before we even get to Luck, Stanford is virtually starting over across the board on offense. The Cardinal has two offensive lineman gone in Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro, along with receivers Chris Owusu and Griff Whalen and tight end Coby Fleener.
Running back Stepfan Taylor is really the only remaining player that's well established, so the Cardinal needs a lot of inexperienced players to step up.
A new quarterback in what currently looks like a battle between Brett Nottingham and Josh Nunes will be under center, whereas receiver Ty Montgomery and tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo will need to increase production.
The Cardinal has to remain a pro-style offense though, as their philosophy and identity is what created three consecutive Heisman Trophy runners-up (Toby Gerhart in 2009 and Luck in 2010 and 2011). Lest we forget about the two BCS bowl games and a 31-8 record since '09.
It also helps that head coach David Shaw has a year under his belt, which makes him more prepared for the upcoming season in relying on many new faces. Provided that Taylor remains a threat on the ground, the Cardinal defense will lock down all season long.
Stanford can still win eight or nine games this year, but a lot will depend on how quickly the offense gets picked up.
On a revamped Indianapolis offense, the Colts no longer have Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon or Joseph Addai. So Luck enters an eerily similar situation as the current Stanford quarterbacks, because a veteran ball-carrier in Donald Brown remains.
We also can't discount the presence of aged receiver Reggie Wayne and the somewhat intact defense with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Fortunately for Luck, the Colts tried to make him as comfortable as possible this season.
Fleener (second-round pick) and Griff Whalen (undrafted) were brought in to keep part of the band together. Last year both were Luck's two favorite targets and combined for over 1,400 yards on 90 receptions and scored 14 touchdowns.
What year is the Colts' next playoff berth?
Therefore, provided that both make the squad, expect Luck to target these two more than anyone during the regular season. One part of the Colts offense to watch for with Luck under center though is the center.
Indy brings in Samson Satele from Oakland who has started in 74 games during his five-year career. If there's any wonder as to why the Raiders have remained dominant on the ground, it's because Satele orchestrated the Oakland offensive line to a tee.
Satele will certainly help Luck's development as Indy gets more consistent on the ground. It's how Stanford was able to mold Luck (first with Gerhart, then Taylor) and it was a underrated part of the Cardinal's and Luck's success the past three years.
John Rozum on Twitter.
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