Andrew Luck's NFL preseason debut was largely successful as he played well in the Colts' 38-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams. Luck completed 10 of 16 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns, including a 63-yard touchdown on his first pass. While Luck looked capable of having a great rookie season, he will be in trouble because of his offensive line.
Luck enters the league with huge amounts of pressure on his shoulders. As the face of a franchise, the top pick in the draft and the replacement for Peyton Manning, Luck will have high expectations throughout this season and his career.
If Luck's debut was any indicator, when he's on the field, he's a special player. The problem with Luck's rookie season is that the Colts' offensive line may prevent Luck from staying on the field for the entire season.
The Colts' offensive line has been a game of musical chairs following last season. Jeff Saturday signed with the Green Bay Packers, Ryan Diem retired and Ben Ijalana is out for the year with a knee injury. With players in-and-out, shifting positions, the Colts are looking to build chemistry quickly.
Against the Rams, the Colts lost starting guard Mike McGlynn with a high ankle sprain. If he misses significant time, the Colts' offensive line situation would go from bad to worse in a hurry.
In the first preseason game, Luck was under pressure early on as the Rams sent blitzers from all directions to try to get after the rookie from the start. Luck did a great job handling the pressure and using his feet to avoid hits. That aspect of his game looked fairly similar to Aaron Rodgers who has mastered the skill.
Even Rodgers has shown some big hits just aren't escapable. With a poor offensive line Luck may not get hit as much as more stationary quarterbacks would behind the same line, but there will still be plenty of times Luck gets knocked on his behind.
The question for the Colts' season is just how durable is Andrew Luck. He was fairly tough in college without any serious injury concerns. Standing 6'4" and 235 pounds, Luck has the size to absorb a hit, but just how many remains unseen.
The offensive line needs to come together rather quickly to avoid Luck getting beaten up. Time is running out and the bodies just aren't there. When Luck is on the field this season, he will do well when he's not getting hit or on the ground. The latter will happen way too often and Luck will be in trouble.