There's a lot to like about Andrew Luck. He has the physical talent that makes him seem like an ideal quarterback, and he has the football smarts to go with it. When he was coming out of college, many people talked about how he was taking after Peyton Manning in terms of his knowledge of the game and his smarts on-the-field, and we've certainly seen that in action in his first three years.
It's one of the first things that his teammates notice as well. Take rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, for example. He's just getting acclimated to the Colts' offense, but he realizes that working with Andrew Luck makes him better. "No question," Dorsett said last week regarding that fact. "It definitely makes a difference. All of his balls are catchable and he's so smart. He knows what to do. He knows where to put the ball."
Veteran running back Frank Gore, who joined the Colts this offseason after spending ten seasons in San Francisco, noted something similar. He was asked last week what stands out about Luck in the time he's spent with the Colts' quarterback, and Gore said, "he's smart. A smart guy. I like how he takes leadership of the team. It's not just listen to coaches. When he's out there he takes ownership of everything and I really like that."
Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson signed with the Colts this offseason, and though it was mainly out of a desire to win a championship, he realizes that the quarterback is the reason why those Super Bowl hopes are legitimate - and Johnson already calls Luck the best quarterback he's ever played with despite having yet to play a single game with him. But Johnson, who spent twelve seasons with the Texans, notices it too. "He's goofy," he recently told the Indianapolis Star's Zak Keefer about Luck. "Really goofy. But he's smart as hell. He says, 'Do this,' and on the next play I'm wide open."
The rookie Dorsett and the veterans Gore and Johnson, all playing with Andrew Luck for the first time, notice the same thing: the quarterback is smart. He has a knowledge of the game that gives him command of the team's offense, and he helps lead in that regard. He's telling people where to go and what to do during drills and helping to make them better along with himself.
"Andrew is at a point where as far as his understanding of an NFL defense, his perspective now is like a perspective of a coach," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton recently told Colts.com's Kevin Bowen. "It's well documented that he's a smart guy, but now I think his overall football acumen, or should I say football aptitude is at a point where his feedback and/or his suggestions, I really take heed of the advice that he gives."
There's a lot to like about Andrew Luck, but one of the things that people all notice about him is just how smart he is. Phillip Dorsett has noticed it, as have Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. Pep Hamilton sees it too, and it's clear that the Colts' quarterback is taking on a much bigger leadership role of the offense this year - and considering how smart he is, that makes a lot of sense.