I found a good read at:
Before I get started, let me explain the inspiration for this piece. Sam Quinn of The Sports Post wrote an article entitled “Andrew Luck is the Most Overrated Player in the NFL”. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I am sure he is not the only one with similar thoughts (although I am sure no NFL front office people feel the same). However, I have an opinion and a platform as well, and it is time to dismantle this argument about Andrew Luck.
Being dubbed “the most overrated player in the NFL” for a guy who was not even voted to the Pro Bowl in 2013 is a pretty steep statement. Also, I understand statistics can help tell a story and support arguments, but they cannot be the only reason for an argument. The article is riddled with statistics comparing Luck to this guy and that guy, and ranking him in the middle of the league or bottom of the league. How about watching Luck play and watching his progression throughout the first 33 meaningful games of his career, and then being the judge?
To begin, Quinn stated he once wanted to rank Luck ahead of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and now in present time has pulled back. I will give him that. Is Luck ahead of Rodgers? Of course not, almost nobody is as good as Rodgers. However, it is not fair to compare the two in the first place. Rodgers has five playoff appearances in his six seasons as a starter and has a Super Bowl win to go with it. Luck has been in the league just two seasons.
Next, I saw the statement, “Luck is typically compared to Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson based solely on their draft position. Based on level of play alone, he’s got a pretty good set of contemporaries. Consider the following”. From there, I’ll just tell you that Quinn went on to essentially say Luck is no better than Mike Glennon and Ryan Tannehill. Woof. I was a bit confused by the statement. First, Luck, Griffin and Wilson are not compared because of their draft position, they are compared because they were the three best rookie quarterbacks in an absolutely stacked draft class. Luck was taken first, Griffin second and Wilson 75th. Everyone has seen what a train wreck RGIII’s season was this year. If Luck and RGIII’s 2013 campaigns are being compared then that is just a mistake. On the flip side, Wilson is a multiple award-winning quarterback on arguably the NFL’s best team, and who no one can seem to find a bad thought about. Luck and RGIII get verbally pounded quite a bit.
The next thing that caught me off guard was the statement, “He isn’t ranked in the top-10 in a single meaningful passing statistic. He’s 14th in touchdowns and yardage, 22nd in passer rating and 28th in completion percentage. He does a good job of limiting interceptions, but that’s mitigated by the lack of plays he makes for his own team. Essentially, that makes him a game manager, but his completion percentage doesn’t fit that MO.” “He’s given up the bigger plays in the hopes of making it up with more completions, which he’s done, but not at nearly a high enough rate. Elite quarterbacks complete over 65 percent of their passes. Luck isn’t particularly close to 60 percent.” Whoa.
“Game manager”?! Only someone who just looks at the box score for analysis could think that. Luck has not had big-time stats this year, but that is mainly due to the lofty standards set by him being in the most pass-aggressive offense in the league last year under Bruce Arians. This year, the Colts welcomed in rookie NFL offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton. From Day 1, Hamilton and the Colts’ leadership preached pounding the rock with a power run game. You know what the Colts did/tried to do for the first twelve weeks of the season? Dammit, they tried to force that power run game! It was not until too late in the Cincinnati game that the gameplan started being “okay, we win because we have Andrew Luck”. The Colts are 3-0 since then and have outscored their opponents 78-20. If one thing has become evident to fans and media alike with the Colts, it is that they have their most success on offense when Luck is in control (kinda like that Peyton Manning fella).
After the “game manager” bit, Quinn later says, “A lot of his accuracy issues come from, for lack of a better term, a hero complex. Luck makes a lot of unnecessary decisions by either trying to make big plays that aren’t there or by throwing at covered receivers hoping that he can fit the ball into tight windows. Hell, he even tries to make a few too many plays with his feet. It’s as if he has to make a huge play EVERY play rather than letting the offense flow and making plays as they come.” “These decisions aren’t always necessarily bad decisions, as truly bad decisions tend to lead to turnovers, it’s more a matter of not making the best ones. Luck isn’t accurate enough to attempt some of the plays that he does, and as such, needs to focus more on playing within the offense. The upside to this hero complex is that it leads to big plays, and big plays lead to wins.”
Well then, is he a risk taker with a hero complex that makes a lot of big plays, or is he a game manager that is afraid to go down field? The addition of a check-down into this year’s offense, which was basically non-existent last year is not a bad thing. It’s small ball. Next comes the tired statement that Andrew Luck and the Colts can’t possibly keep up with all of this lucky winning: “Luck has a remarkable history of winning games he shouldn’t, and is one of the few quarterbacks in history to eschew the statistical certainty of close games being random. He’s an absolutely absurd 14-2 in games decided by one possession, which typically amount to a 50-50 proposition. It’s reflected in the standings: Luck’s Colts are 21-10 since 2012 despite holding a Pythagorean Winning Percentage of a .500 team.
Luck has been the main beneficiary of these added wins, but logically speaking, there’s no effing way he keeps up that pace. It’d just be impossible to win seven close games for every one that you lose. To put that number in perspective, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are both in the 60’s, meaning they win about twice as many close games as they lose. Once the Colts start losing some of these games, the mystique around Luck should die down and he should come closer to being rated properly.” Peruse Pro Football Spot’s forums and look for the hundreds of comments people made before the season started about Luck and the Colts not being able to do it again this year. You know what? Luck and the Colts have not done it again this year. You know why? Because in 2012, they were pulling lucky wins out of their rears, but all of that adversity and heart built a scrappy, experienced, young team that learned how to win close games – especially against the best opponents. It’s skill this year, not luck.
Then, there was a quote regarding Luck’s accuracy: “That’s been the crux of Luck’s problems in the NFL. He’s just not a very accurate passer.” So, so far we’ve got that he’s not accurate and forces too many balls? With all those risks he takes, he has got just 11 total turnovers this year compared to 23 last year. In fact, there are 20 more quarterbacks this year with more interceptions than Luck. That includes Brady (14 Total TO), Brees (14 Total TO), Manning (16 Total TO), Cam Newton (14 Total TO), Ben Roethlisberger (20 Total TO), Tony Romo (11 Total TO) and Matt Ryan (21 Total TO). The next blurb I took issue with was, “Hell, he even tries to make a few too many plays with his feet. It’s as if he has to make a huge play EVERY play rather than letting the offense flow and making plays as they come.”
From seeing every snap of Luck’s career, I cannot tell you how many times he has saved a Colts drive (or even a game for that matter) by making a play with his legs. I have never felt, and would be hard pressed to find many others that have felt as if Luck tries to force plays with his legs too often. When he forces plays, it’s with his arm. When he runs, he is almost always picking up a first down or getting very, very close to it. He runs because he sees he can pick up a first down and that the play likely won’t be made through the air. This season, Luck is credited with 63 carries, with an average of 6.0 yards per carry and resulting in a first down or touchdown 43% of the time. That is a playmaker.
Now, the Colts are in the middle of the pack in basically every significant statistical category, yet they are 11-5. Do you know how many players the Colts have on their season-ending injured reserve list? They have 15. Five of those players were Week 1 offensive starters, and three of those players accounted for 49% of the total offensive yardage in 2012. Next, if we are going to talk about statistics and Luck’s so-called lack thereof, then let’s take a look at the first two seasons of the four quarterbacks most would consider to be the league’s best and compare them to Luck.
Comparison to Brady, Manning, Brees, Rodgers in First Two Seasons•Tom Brady – 637 Completions, 63.0% Completion, 6,607 Yards, 46 TD, 26 INT, 86.1 Quarterback Rating, 20 Wins, 1 Playoff Season. •Drew Brees – 525 Completions, 59.2% Completion, 5,392 Yards, 28 TD, 31 INT, 72.2 Quarterback Rating, 10 Wins, 0 Playoff Seasons. •Peyton Manning – 657 Completions, 59.5% Completion, 7,874 Yards, 52 TD, 43 INT, 81.0 Quarterback Rating, 16 Wins, 1 Playoff Season. •Aaron Rodgers – 691 Completions, 64.2% Completion, 8,472 Yards, 58 TD, 20 INT, 98.5 Quarterback Rating, 17 Wins, 1 Playoff Season. •Andrew Luck – 682 Completions, 57.2% Completion, 8,196 Yards, 46 TD, 27 INT, 81.8 Quarterback Rating, 22 Wins, 2 Playoff Seasons.
Luck has more completions and yards than all but Rodgers, more TD than Brees (and as many as Brady), less INT than Brees and Manning, a better quarterback rating than Brees and Manning, and more wins and playoff seasons than all of them. For those people that don’t care about stats, they usually just care about wins. Well, this year the Colts are 4-2 against 2013 playoff teams. Let’s see how he has done in those six games: Luck’s Total Stats Against 2013 Playoff Teams: 127 for 206, 62% Completion, 1,385 Yards, 10 TD, 118 Rush Yards, 2 Rush TD, 2 Total Turnovers, 93.6 Quarterbacking Rating average. Luck’s Average Game Against 2013 Playoff Teams: 21 for 34, 62% Completion, 231 Yards, 2 TD, 20 Rush Yards, 0 TO, 93.6 Quarterback Rating.
One more issue I have just with the general statement that Luck is the most overrated player in the NFL is that you have got to think of other players in the NFL. If you still consider Tim Tebow an NFL player then he has got to top the list, no? You cannot consider a reasonable MVP candidate in Luck the most overrated player in the league when there are guys out there like Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Trent Richardson and Mike Wallace. Enough of what I’ve got to say for a minute, what does Luck’s competition say about him?
Darnell Dockett, Arizona Cardinals via Twitter – “Andrew luck is a top5 QB!! Boy is good! I can't even front! #honesty” Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post – “They say we were playing a rookie. Not today we weren’t.” The quote from Dockett was after his Arizona Cardinals crushed the Colts 40-11 this year in Week 12. That’s right, he made that assessment after a game where Luck’s team lost by 30 points. The quote from Starks? That was after a game in which Luck broke the all-time record for rookie passing yards in a single game.
The last supporting content I will leave you with is this list of accomplishment that Luck has earned in his first two seasons. Notice none of these are anything that anyone is giving to him or have been awarded to him – they are all accomplishments he has earned through his play on the field.
•Most passing yards in a single game by a rookie: 433 (vs. Miami Dolphins on 11/4/12) •Most passing yards by a rookie in a single season: 4,374 •Most 300+ yards passing games by a rookie: 6 •Most pass attempts by a rookie in a single season: 627 •Most game-winning drives by a rookie quarterback: 7 •Most fourth quarter comebacks by a rookie quarterback: 7 •Second most total yards for a rookie in NFL history: 4,629 •Led the Colts to the most wins (11) by a No. 1 overall draft pick in his rookie season in NFL history. •Became the first quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft to start a postseason game as a rookie. •Became the first NFL rookie to throw two game-winning touchdown passes inside the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter in a single season. •Most passing yards for a quarterback through 2 seasons: 8,196 •Tied for second most wins by a quarterback through first 2 seasons in NFL history: 22 •10 game-winning drives in first 2 seasons. •7 comeback wins in first 2 seasons.
One of the best things about Andrew Luck is that he would not care about the article talking about him being the most overrated player in the NFL, and he would likely be irritated to know about this article defending him as an individual player. Football is a team game and he would be the first one to push the credit from himself to his teammates. With that, I say do your thing, Andrew. Let the wins keep rolling and the critics continue to be silenced.
*Please be easy on me, I haven't quite figured out how to perfect the paragraphs on these Fanposts. Happy New Year Colts fans...and Brad!