Luck not Above Growing Pains

No quarterback has come into the NFL with greater expectations than Andrew Luck. Colts Authority writer Scott Kacsmar is so sure of his successful NFL future that he has set in motion a plan to follow every single snap of the Colts rookie signal caller, providing the most in-depth statistical breakdown of a quarterback’s career ever put together.

It is the attention he is receiving from NFL talking heads, personnel around the league, and Colts fans that will undoubtedly magnify every single one of his big plays, successes, mistakes, and failures. Toss in that Heisman winner, and world class athlete, Robert Griffin III came into the league at the same time — and that his predecessor was possibly the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen — and it should be clear that making his way through rookie growing pains will warrant a lot of discussion and feedback.

While there is very little arguing that Andrew Luck is putting together one of the most successful rookie quarterback campaigns in NFL history — and he has it in him to surpass current records held by Cam Newton and others — he still needs to settle down in his new professional role. The loss against the Jets last week was a failure on the part of the entire team, but it is worth noting that professional football is an unforgiving competition where lost opportunities and field goals will not win a lot of games.

When Luck overthrew Coby Fleener in the end zone, or lobbed the ball too high on a screen pass, drives ended, scoring opportunities were lost, and the defense was placed back onto the field. These were not great defensive plays, or failures on the part of Luck’s teammates, these were failures in concentration, execution, and indications that Luck can get ahead of himself out on the field.

Two weeks ago the Colts showed they were able to overcome great odds to defeat the Green Bay Packers in come from behind fashion, with Luck displaying sensational maturity and poise in the second half. He stayed calm, he carried out the mission, and the team rallied around him to lead an outstanding victory. If he hopes to hold that momentum together and maintain the confidence of his teammates, he needs to really cut back on the unforced errors when opportunities present themselves. Frankly, this team cannot afford to pass up on those opportunities and hope to make it to the playoffs.

Let’s be honest, he is working behind an awful offensive line. He is getting hit way too often and has to scramble. He is still facing new defenses for the first time, all with players who are better than any he has faced in his life. However, as he continues into the second quarter of his rookie season and approaches the halfway point, he needs to make it his responsibility to cut back on those kinds of mistakes.

This team showed two weeks ago that it is capable of beating quality opponents and can compete with any team in the NFL. It showed that it is capable of overcoming great odds, mounting comeback victories, and playing above it’s experience level. It can continue to do so, but cutting back on missed opporunities will have to occur for it to happen. No one has more responsibility to set that example than the team’s new leader, Andrew Luck.