Andrew Luck: Why You Can Actually Put Stock in Amazing Preseason NFL Debut

Tim KeeneyContributor IAugust 12, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 12: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass the ball against the St. Louis Rams during a preseason NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NFL preseason is about the process, not the result.

That's why I'm not going to draft Richard Bartel in my fantasy draft just because he went 5-for-6 for 69 yards and a touchdown. That's why I'm not going to get nervous about Peyton Manning throwing an interception. That's why I'm not going to put stock in countless other flukey preseason Week 1 performances.

But it's exactly why I'm downright giddy about Andrew Luck.

Sure, the No. 1 overall pick and greatest thing since sliced bread put up some gaudy numbers in his NFL debut against the St. Louis Rams: 10-for-16, 188 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions. 

The first touchdown and a third of the yards, after all, took place on Luck's first snap under center.

He dumped the ball off on a two-yard screen to Donald Brown, who did the rest of the work, taking it 63 yards to the house for the score. 

But while Luck's final numbers are hardly worth caring about, how he looked on the field is something that should instill plenty of hope into Colts fans.

Luck was brilliant, proving exactly why he has garnered the title of "Best No. 1 Pick Since Peyton Manning." 

He was calm, cool and collected inside the pocket, shuffling around, displaying good footwork and presence, going through his progressions quickly and either dumping the ball off or throwing it away when necessary.

Bleacher Report's NFL genius Matt Miller gives an example just how smart of a debut it was by Luck:

Great footwork and athleticism by Luck to escape head-on pressure and get out of the pocket. Nice checkdown throw.

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) August 12, 2012

Sometimes that's all you can do, and it might not be pretty, but it's always better than the alternative of a sack or interception on a forced throw. Luck's day was the definition of methodical, and it doesn't stop there.

Of his six incompletions, two were thrown away and three were dropped by his receivers. That's borderline perfect from Luck's perspective. 

Not only did the former Stanford star show the mechanics, vision and athleticism of a true pocket passer, he also proved to have another uncanny ability (via rookiesscouts.com's Josh Liskiewitz):

Not many rookie QBs can move safeties with their eyes in their 1st preseason game...

— Josh Liskiewitz (@JoshLiskiewitz) August 12, 2012

Finally, throw in his powerful arm and perfect timing (along with, once again, the ability to move the safeties with his eyes) displayed on the 23-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie:

Intelligence, awareness, athleticism and strength were just a few of the traits Andrew Luck put on display against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon, and it was his first freaking NFL game. Ever.

That's not supposed to happen. 

I don't care if you're playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl or against your six-year-old cousin in the backyard. If you can display the type of scary combination of skills so effortlessly so early in your career, you are special.

Andrew Luck is special, and if you didn't know that already, just watch his first preseason game. Unlike so many others, it actually taught us something.