A month ago, Andrew Luck silenced all two of his critics with his performance at Stanford's Pro Day. Those two critics were PFT's Evan Silva (who I consider a friend) and CBS analyst and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms.
In Silva's case, he simply thinks Robert Griffin III is a better quarterback prospect because he can run faster and throw farther than Luck. In my opinion, Evan simply doesn't take into account the child-like offense Griffin ran at Baylor in a conference (Big 12) known for producing quarterbacks who put up huge numbers (Graham Harrell, Vince Young, Blaine Gabbert, Colt McCoy, and Phil Simms' own son Chris Simms) only to fizzle out when they get to the man's league and have to throw against defenses who know how to cover, tackle, hit, etc. It's a case of a writer falling in love with a prospect's talent, not necessarily his ability to play quarterback.
Even Jon Gruden, who seemingly loves EVERYONE when they come to his ESPN QB Camp office, thinks the Big 12 quarterbacks like RG3 have something to prove.
In the case of Phil Simms, he made a headline-grabbing comment in November of last year stating that Luck doesn't make "big time NFL throws."
I don't care what anybody says. I've watched a lot of him. He never takes it and rips it in there. And you can say what you want but, man, you’ve got to be able to crease that ball every once in a while," Simms said. "There's not a lot of rotation on the ball and there’s not a tremendous amount of power. Not that you need to have that power arm. I’m not saying you’ve got to have that exclusively but, man, it sure helps when you can do that because there’s four or five plays a game it is about arm strength."
Well, according to this morning's MMQB article from SI's Peter King, those comments did not sit well with Luck. According to people at Luck's Pro Day, his performance (which was highlighted by him throwing a 70-yard bomb through the air against 15-mile-per-hour wind gusts that day at Palo Alto) was meant to say, "Take that to Phil Simms."
After King quoted this anonymous person at Luck's Pro Day (I'm assuming this person was a scout or team official, and not the groundskeeper or something), he then tried to defend Simms' comments:
The great thing was, his last throw of the day, into the wind, was a go with the ball snapped from his own 30. He dropped back and released it around his 24. That ball went all the way to the goal line, about 75 yards in the air. Perfect spiral. He hit the receiver in stride, and he dropped it. And someone said, 'That's saying take that to Phil Simms.' You know, because Simms said he didn't have a great arm.''
Simms actually said last fall he didn't see "big-time NFL throws ... and not a tremendous amount of power.'' I didn't see much of it either, watching Luck tape last week from Stanford's game against Oregon last season...
I kind of see this as King trying to have it both ways, which he can't in this situation. A quarterback who can't make "big-time throws" is a quarterback who doesn't have a great arm, and probably shouldn't be drafted No. 1 overall. Simms knew what he was saying there. It's the kind of statement that effectively tells people that Luck just isn't as good as advertised. Peter doesn't make myself look any better by agreeing with Simms after watching just one game of Luck's from last year.
At the end of the day, Luck ripped the ball all over the place at his Pro Day. He comes into this league with a stronger arm than Peyton Manning did coming out of Tennessee in 1998. I've watched more than one college game of both players, and Luck is stronger, faster, and more developed as a quarterback than Manning was, and that's saying something!
Just as our own Stew Blake caught onto last month, the 70-yard bomb against the wind was a gigantic "F U" to Simms and anyone else who questioned Luck's arm strength. It was meant to make them look stupid for saying it.