Evaluating the Pistol Formation, Andrew Luck Style

To be honest, my first reaction to Jared Johnson's article on the pistol formation as a key to Indy's offense was part excitement – because the Andrew Luck scramble was a favorite dish of mine last year – and part worriment, especially because every other offseason move seems to be to protect Luck. While his career is still generally expected to be longer than RGIII's, given the latter's somewhat erratic style of play, Indy has made it clear that Luck will become more conservative from here on out.

Last season, Luck had many runs that weren't designed—he just had to get the heck out of the pocket to avoid a sack. Even that didn't work sometimes. According to Advanced NFL Stats, Luck led the NFL in QB hits, getting hit behind the line of scrimmage 114 times. The next closest team's total was the Philadelphia Eagles at 93. With an improved offensive line through free agency, look for Luck to use his athleticism and decision-making ability in a less spontaneous way in 2013 when the pistol formation is used to avoid some hits.

Which reminds me; this could actually minimize the number of hits Luck takes. If Indy's QB scrambles with multiple options open – tight ends and runningbacks, depending on the formation – defensive players will be forced to think before overpursuing. Not having to do so last year probably contributed to the number of times Luck had to pick himself up.