Andrew Luck: Best Attributes Shown by Prized Rookie Quarterback in Preseason

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 25:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass against the Washington Redskins during a preseason game at FedExField on August 25, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Andrew Luck has been better than expected this preseason, even though the sky-high expectations he carried into the NFL make that seem impossible.

Through three preseason contests, Luck has a quarterback rating of 96.2. He's thrown for 514 yards and three touchdowns. The two interceptions that he has thrown were against the daunting Steelers defense, and one was obviously not his fault.

While his resume isn't unblemished, I'd say that looks pretty impressive. Considering that he's completed over 60 percent of his passes only adds to his growing mystique.

The other things Luck brings to the table don't show up in the box score, and that's what we will touch on here.



This was especially obvious in Week 2 against the Steelers. Luck faced a plethora of Dick LeBeau blitz packages, and he handled them well.

Luck was only sacked once against the Steelers. His offensive line kept him upright, but he was under pressure more than he hit the ground.

His ability to stand in the pocket under duress was staggering for a rookie. 

One play that stands out for me occurred late in the second quarter. Pittsburgh edge-rusher Chris Carter came at Luck unimpeded. Instead of holding onto the ball, Luck found tight end Coby Fleener for an eight-yard gain.

Now that's poise. It may be preseason, but it's still the Steelers' defense.

We knew Luck was poised at Stanford, but the NFL is a different game. He's adjusted to the speed, and he has had no trouble standing in the pocket.



Say whatever you want about Luck's arm strength, but his accuracy is impeccable.

Luck throws his receivers open as well as any rookie quarterback from recent memory. This has some to do with his understanding of the Colts' offense, but it has more to do with his ability to put the ball on a dime.

I already mentioned Luck's completion percentage, but it's not just about that. He's putting passes in the perfect position for his receivers, and he's spreading the ball around.

Anyone watching Luck battle Robert Griffin III and the Redskins Saturday night should remember one play in particular from the second quarter. Not only did Luck elude a Washington rusher, but he also fired a pinpoint pass to T.Y. Hilton from about 30 yards out for a touchdown.

It wasn't a throw most rookies could, or would, make. Luck did it with the calm precision of a 10-year veteran.


Play Recognition

I could have gone with arm strength here, because I don't see any issues, but I'll stick with the mental side of things.

Luck isn't Peyton Manning behind center, but he barks out orders like the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Luck shows complete control at the line of scrimmage, and he understands the play once the ball is snapped.

His recognition skills are suited for a player well beyond his years. Sure, there have been hiccups along the way. His interception in Week 2 to Pittsburgh's Ike Taylor was a terrible decision, but no one is perfect.

Luck isn't just hitting his No. 1 target. You can watch him run through his progressions as soon as the ball is snapped, and he doesn't panic.

He's not perfect by any stretch. He still makes questionable decisions, and he looks like a rookie from time to time, but overall he has been lights-out in his three professional games.

Preseason doesn't hold a lot of meaning, but it's a suitable barometer for teams to gauge their rookies.

So far, the Colts are seeing exactly what they want from their No. 1 overall pick.


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