A few weeks ago I wrote that Andrew Luck deserved to be in the MVP conversation if the Colts made the playoffs (which at that point actually looked like a reasonable expectation). The Colts are incredibly unlikely to make the postseason now, however, which essentially takes Luck out of any legitimate MVP scenario. But the point still remains: he’s been as valuable as any player has been to their team this year.
The MVP award is given to the player who’s the most balanced combination of the league’s best player and the league’s most valuable player, but if we’re looking at the true most valuable player in the entire NFL it would have to be a quarterback, and it might very well be Andrew Luck.
Count Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bedard in that group as well, as he released a ranking of each quarterback’s supporting cast and then considered that against the player’s production to determine a ranking of the most valuable quarterbacks from 1-32. Number one was Andrew Luck.
Bedard ranked the Colts as tied for the 20th best team overall, individually ranking them 29th in pass protection, tenth in the run game, eleventh in weapons (receivers), 14th in coaching, and 30th in defense, which when compared against Luck’s production (he’s sixth in QBR this year), makes the Colts’ quarterback the most valuable to his team of any QB in the league. Wrote Bedard:
The Colts are a perfect example of how constructing a fantasy team, with a good QB, RB and WRs does little good for you if you don’t protect the QB and the defense can’t get enough stops. OC Rob Chudzinski is actually a solid coordinator, but it’s tough to gets your system going without enough time to pass.
QBR ranking: 6. MV-QB ranking: 1. You have to wonder where the Colts (and coach Chuck Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson) would be without the heroics of Luck this season.
This isn’t exactly a glowing review for the Colts, but it’s an accurate one. They’re a team with a bad defense, a questionable coaching staff, an inconsistent offensive line, a run game spearheaded by 33-year old Frank Gore, and a receiving group that outside of T.Y. Hilton has been up and down. And yet considering all of that, Andrew Luck is on pace for arguably the best season of his career. He’s completed 303 of 476 passes (63.7%) for 3,631 yards (7.6 yards per attempt), 27 touchdowns, and ten picks this year for a passer rating of 97.1, while he’s also rushed for 312 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Again, this isn’t a ranking of the best quarterbacks in the league (though Luck would be higher on that list than some might want to admit). Instead, it’s an attempt to explain which quarterbacks are doing the most with the least. Luck is doing a lot and playing well this year, but his supporting cast hasn’t been stepping up. That adds up to make him the league’s most valuable quarterback this year, and I don’t think you’d find much disagreement from those who actually watch the Colts play.