Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will attempt to become the first rookie quarterback since 1995 to beat the Patriots in New England when the Colts travel to Foxboro Sunday afternoon.
If there were ever a rookie at the position to pull off the feat—especially now against Tom Brady—it might just be Luck, who has quickly established himself as the new high-water mark for first-year quarterbacks.
However, like any young quarterback, Luck is far from a finished product. Brady is the definition of it. There's plenty Luck can learn from Brady to help fine-tune his own game.
In the following slides, we break down where Luck can learn from Brady, one of the generation's best quarterbacks.
To their credit, the Colts have crafted an offense around Luck that has mostly replicated how the Stanford offense operated. Heavy sets lead the way, with the run used to control the tempo of games. It's a safe, effective way to move the football, especially for a young offense.
Brady and the Patriots operate a different way—one that Luck should eventually be able to use as a weapon.
New England's offense ups the tempo and lets Brady control things at the line of scrimmage, maximizing the amount of plays the Patriots offense gets to use in a given game.
A mastery of the offense is needed, and Luck isn't there.
However, it won't be long before the Colts can utilize Luck in a similar way. For now, the current offense is perfect. But down the road, Indianapolis will be wasting an opportunity to put Luck's mind and football IQ to better use, much like Brady does week in and week out for the Patriots.
Brady might be the best quarterback of this generation inside the pocket. It takes a devastating pass rush to get under Brady's skin, and even then, he makes more subtle movements inside the pocket to create space than any pocket passer in the game.
Luck, as the game continues to slow down, will learn the same perfection of the pocket space.
For now, Luck can get away with spells of "happy feet" because he's a big, strong kid who is more than athletic enough to evade pressure. That kind of size and mobility will always be one of his strongest assets.
However, the ability to remain completely calm in a crowded space, even with the pocket collapsing, is something that must be learned over time. Luck should get a clinic on how one of the best ever does it Sunday in New England.
As a quarterback, turnovers represent the one mistake that can't be made. These plays are game-changers, and the best quarterbacks (Brady, Aaron Rodgers, etc.) avoid them like the plague.
So far, Luck hasn't been immune.
Over nine games, Luck has nine interceptions and seven fumbles as a passer. Two came in the red zone last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In comparison, Brady has just 19 total interceptions and seven fumbles over his last 940 attempts since 2009. This season, Brady has just three interceptions and one fumble.
The Colts offense promotes Luck throwing the football downfield, so turnovers will occasionally be the result. But to be considered among the best, the turnover ratio will have to decrease. Expect Brady to be near perfect in that area Sunday.