Andrew Luck: After Historic Performance, What's Next For Colts Rookie QB?

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Andrew Luck: After Historic Performance, What's Next For Colts Rookie QB?
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Andrew Luck eviscerated the Miami Dolphins en route to a fifth win on Sunday.

Still, for as impressive of a performance Luck put on, that is expected of a No. 1 pick. In addition, the Dolphins field one of pro football's worst pass defenses and Luck easily took advantage.

The Indianapolis Colts are in the postseason hunt and also just two games behind the Houston Texans. Not to mention, the Colts have yet to line up against their AFC South division rival.

And when that time comes, expect Luck to be ready. The guy was arguably the face of college football during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and now he's in the NFL spotlight. To that end, what lies ahead provides an opportunity of greater impact than his thrashing of Miami.

After all, yards are nice but wins are better.

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

 

Increased Expectations for Big Games

Now that we've gotten a good dosage of Luck's real NFL capabilities, his entire repertoire will need to unfold during the season's final months.

For one, November and December are certainly tougher games as everyone is trying to make a postseason run. Or at the very least, play the spoiler role. As for the Colts, Indy is positioned well to appear in January but a lot rides on Luck's performance.

Secondly, teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs will be looking to knock off the rising Colts. These aren't trap games, though, Indianapolis is certainly expected to win.

In turn, that simply adds more pressure to the big games such as the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans (twice). Luck thwarted quite well against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, so hitting another level for the Pats, Lions and Texans will be revealing.

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There we'll see a brief glimpse at the Colts' immediate future.


Colts in Position for Historic Turnaround

Finishing the 2011 campaign at 2-14, the Colts basically took all their punches at once.

And although selecting Luck can be viewed as a rebuilding move, it's more of a redirection. Last season, Indianapolis wasn't atrocious in terms of running the ball—averaged 4.2 per carry—and the pass defense ranked No. 15.

It was just horrendous quarterback play that had a trickle-down effect and seeped into everything else. The receiving corps had playmakers and the defense presented reliable guys such as Pat Angerer, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Fast forward to 2012 and Indianapolis virtually sacrificed 2011 for its future. Andrew Luck is the core element of that future, because the potential of finishing 9-7 or 10-6 is the difference between a quarterback's competence.

Include a better coaching staff and more confident defense, especially with Vontae Davis, and this immediate flip will get traced back to Luck.


Already Face of Franchise, Face of League?

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It's obvious that Luck became the face of the Colts when he was selected in the draft. It's even reasonable to say that he was the face of the team before the 2012 draft.

Regardless, the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and No. 1 selection is also on his way to becoming the face of pro football. His consistency to date has been remarkable and the fact of living up to expectations is impressive.

What comes after production are wins: Which Luck has his team at 5-3 and second in the division. Quarterbacks will never get criticized as long as they're playing well, because the defense can certainly get blamed for losing games.

That said, Luck has the impact and victories thus far to enhance his marketability. Take into account the ages of legendary veterans like Tom Brady (35), Peyton Manning (36) and Drew Brees (33) and Luck can become the NFL's face if he wins a Super Bowl.

At the very least he'll be at the forefront of pro football's next wave of elite signal-callers.

 

Follow John Rozum on Twitter.

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