Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is already among the best in the league at his position. His ranking varies depending on which list you look at, but he's always near the top. He's one of the best players in the league, coming off of a season in which he broke Peyton Manning's franchise record for passing yards in a single season and led the entire NFL in touchdown passes.
But while he's already incredibly good, there's still room for him to improve. And just how could he stand to get even better? By cutting down on the turnovers.
"Yes, big focus," Luck said on Tuesday regarding cutting down the turnovers. "That touchdown to interception ratio I think is very important. Cutting down on turnovers I think is my number one goal for myself as a quarterback going into next season besides the obvious, winning a Super Bowl. I think we've done a good job in practice so far with Matt (Hasselbeck) and Bryan Bennett and the wideouts and everybody in cutting down on those turnovers. But that touchdown to interception ratio I think has to be better."
Luck threw 16 interceptions in 2014 compared to 40 touchdowns, good for a touchdown to interception ratio of better than 2:1, which would rank among the top ten all time in terms of career numbers (and Luck is tied for eighth in career TD/INT ratio). Furthermore, Luck threw just 16 interceptions on 616 attempts, throwing a pick on just 2.6% of his passes - a number that would also rank near the top of the all-time list (and Luck is tied for ninth on that list, too). Of course, while the interception numbers have been overblown, Luck wants to get better. And he realizes that, in 2014, there were some factors that contributed to a number of his picks.
"There was a couple," he conceded. "There was sort of a bad decision, a bad miss, a physical error, just a bad placement of the ball. There's a couple that you can sort of chalk-up to a tipped ball here or there, sort of no one's fault per say, but predominantly it was either just a bad decision or a bad miss where it's behind a guy or gets tipped up, late over the middle, things of that nature."
Head coach Chuck Pagano agreed that his superstar quarterback could stand to improve on the mistakes and realizing that its ok to throw a pass away or take a sack in order to prevent a turnover.
"All those guys need to know when to say when, when the down is over. He's learned that over the course of his first three years. Really good two years ago. A little bit on the high side from a turnover standpoint this last season, he knows that. We know we've got to improve on third down. We know we've got to get much better in the red area. It's been an area of focus, for not only him, but for our entire offense, those situational things.
"Like you said, he's a great competitor, and they're always trying to make a play," Pagano continued. "There's a lot of times where I'm sure everybody in this room and everybody on the sideline was saying, ‘The down is over.' But he's getting tackled from behind and hits a guy in stride for a touchdown pass. I think it was Moncrief, right? Now you say, ‘Hey, no, no, no. Oh, okay, good job Andrew.' He's getting better at that and he'll be alright."
Colts fans know exactly what that feeling is like, and it's part of what makes Luck so incredible - he can make a play out of seemingly nothing. But if there's one thing that he can improve on, it's cutting down those turnovers in 2015.