What Can Andrew Luck Learn from Matt Hasselbeck?

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What Can Andrew Luck Learn from Matt Hasselbeck?
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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is getting a perfect backup in veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who officially signed a two-year deal with the Colts Tuesday.

According to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, the Colts gave Hasselbeck $8 million over two years to be both an insurance plan at quarterback and a mentor to emerging star Luck. 

If everything goes right, the first requirement won't be needed. Luck will play all 32 games of the next two seasons, and Hasselbeck will wear a blue ball cap and hold the clipboard. 

Make no mistake, the Colts don't want a repeat of 2011, when then-quarterback Peyton Manning suffered a season-ending injury and Indianapolis tanked to one of its worst seasons in franchise history. But Hasselbeck probably isn't going to be a franchise savior if he's forced into starting duty.

This signing has much more to do with what Hasselbeck can offer Luck from his NFL experience and wisdom.

Hasselbeck, who turns 38 in September, brings an impressive resume to Indianapolis.

The 14-year veteran has been to three Pro Bowls, won 80 regular-season games and appeared in Super Bowl XL, a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his 152 NFL starts, Hasselbeck has thrown for nearly 35,000 yards and 201 touchdowns, and he's started a playoff game 11 times (5-6 record). 

Luck may have been one of the most physically talented and mentally in-tune rookie quarterbacks in NFL history, but there's no doubt he can learn a thing or two from the first experienced backup he's had in Indianapolis. 

In a backup role, Hasselbeck can help with both reading defenses and the understanding of what certain coverages are trying to do to quarterbacks. If Luck has a question about this or that, he'll have another asset in the quarterback room who can likely answer it.

Each of these potential mental additions can be important steps in Luck's likely ascension to the elite category of NFL signal-callers.

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There's also the Colts' offensive switch from Bruce Arians' vertical offense to Pep Hamilton's West Coast philosophy. 

While Luck should be well-versed in how Hamilton's offense works from his time playing under the former Cardinal offensive coordinator at Stanford, Hasselbeck's whole quarterbacking career has been based on working out of an NFL-style West Coast offense. Without much doubt, Hasselbeck can help ease along the transition back into Hamilton's system by teaching Luck some of the intricacies of what makes the offense tick.

Don't expect to hear Hasselbeck complain about his new role, either. 

In Tennessee, Hasselbeck never made a public display against Jake Locker, who was drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft to essentially take his job. Instead, he helped Locker through the bumps and bruises of being a young quarterback in the NFL. 

At 38 years old, Hasselbeck knows he's not coming to Indianapolis with an expectation to play. Over the next two seasons, his $8 million will be used to help groom the franchise quarterback already in place. 

If having a veteran presence like Hasselbeck helps Luck and his development as an NFL quarterback, the $4 million a year will be a bargain. 

A consummate professional, Hasselbeck is universally respected for his work on and off the field. Having someone like that working with your young, potentially all-world quarterback every day can only be a positive thing long term. 

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