After yet another 370 yard passing day for Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (his fifth 300+ yard passing game in six games this year) and another 3 touchdown performance (he's thrown at least three in four of six games, and has notched three total touchdowns in all but one game), plenty of people are taking notice.
On Friday, former NFL general manager Charley Casserly had high praise for Luck, saying (per NFL.com): "Let me tell you something. I started in this league in 1977. (Luck) is the best young quarterback I have ever seen. Hall of Fame."
Casserly cited Luck's ability to see the whole field, his arm strength and accuracy at all levels and his athleticism and escapability in the pocket.
That latter quality is the best I have seen in a quarterback, young or old. TheMMQB.com film analyst Andy Benoit noted that Luck was not the primary culpable offender for a single sack he took during the 2013 season. Gregg Rosenthal half-jokingly referred to Luck's pocket movement as the "eighth wonder of the world."
Unlike most inexperienced quarterbacks, Luck runs a full NFL offense with the requisite responsibilities at the line of scrimmage. He's willing to pull the trigger on passes other quarterbacks won't even attempt. He's been the NFL's most effective quarterback coming from behind as well as in close-and-late situations since he entered the league.
Perhaps most importantly, Luck is the rare young quarterback with the demonstrated capability of putting the team on his back.
Casserly and Wesseling aren't the only ones to praise the Colts' young quarterback. Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey writes that Luck is playing at an MVP level:
As we barrel down toward the midway point of the season, it's never too early to start looking at MVP candidates. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Watt are all potential candidates, but Luck has played well enough to insert himself as a worthy candidate among them.
The Colts are in good hands.
NFL Network's Steve Mariucci said the same thing:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Steve Mariucci on Andrew Luck: "He's truly an MVP candidate this year."</p>— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) <a href="https://twitter.com/AroundTheNFL/status/520340746038038528">October 9, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
There's no debating who the best young quarterback is in the NFL.
There's Andrew Luck and then everybody else.
This year, the 25-year-old has separated himself from the pack. From anticipating throws before they come open to evading pass rushers with deft pocket movement, Luck's evolution was on full display in Houston on Thursday night. He finished the game with 370 yards, three scores and a pick despite begin pressured on 36 percent of his dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus.
Andrew Luck truly is playing phenomenal. He leads the NFL in completions (by 22), in attempts (by 42), in passing yards (by 413), and in touchdown passes (by 5). Now, understand that he has played one more game than any other quarterback due to playing on Thursday night, but he's been leading in those categories for a number of weeks. Perhaps it's best to look at the pace that he's on for the season. Through six games, he has completed 172 of 260 passes (66.2%) for 1,987 yards, 17 t touchdowns and 7 interceptions, while adding two touchdowns on the ground. For a 16-game season, he's on pace to complete 459 of 693 passes for 5,299 yards, 45 touchdowns and 19 interceptions - while also rushing for 5 scores. Understand that, if that pace keeps up, he would total the third highest passing yards in a single-season in NFL history and tied for the sixth most passing touchdowns in a season in history. That's a phenomenal season, especially when considering that he's in just his third year.
Andrew Luck is definitely playing at an MVP pace through six games this year, and it's hard to ignore.