Anyone who watches the Colts play can see just how important Andrew Luck is to the team. The Colts are a below average team with an awful defense, a suspect offensive line, inconsistent weapons (outside of the T.Y. Hilton), and a questionable coaching staff - but they’re made better by their franchise quarterback.
Though the Colts aren’t in the playoffs, that doesn’t mean Luck is to blame. He’s actually had a career year, completing 322 of 505 passes (63.8%) for 3,919 yards (7.8 yards per attempt), 29 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a passer rating of 96.8, while also adding 324 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Luck is sixth in the league in yards per game, seventh in yards per attempt, tied for fifth in touchdown passes, and eighth in passer rating. He’s been one of the top quarterbacks in football this year, and he’s the reason the Colts were even competitive in the playoff hunt in the first place.
“I think he has played great,” offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said on Thursday. “It is never perfect. I’ve said before that Andrew can improve on [things] and that is the exciting thing that he is not a finished product. He is still young in terms of quarterbacks. You look around the league and who’s in their prime and how many years they have been in the league and Andrew is still young in that regard. I’ve seen a ton of improvement; you look at his decision-making. I think statistically in terms of some of the production and his efficiency, his accuracy, his fundamentals, his footwork, all those things have improved. You look at his leadership as well, this is his team and it has become his team obviously over time. I can’t be more pleased. I can’t imagine there is another guy in this league that is as valuable to their team as Andrew.”
One thing Chud emphasized when looking at Luck’s numbers and his play: his decision-making has improved.
“All those that we are talking about, the completion percentage, interception percentage and the things that go with that on tape in terms of decision-making,” he said. “And it hasn’t been perfect and there is always going to be room for growth and there is in this case. Certainly at times when Andrew presses and tries to make a play and has such trust in guys that they will make plays for him, occasionally there are mistakes in that way. I look at his first few years and you look at those times that he was making those decisions and those were cut drastically this season. Again, I am really pleased with the job he has done overall in all the things that we have asked him to focus on.”
The reality is that for Luck, just like any other quarterback, there are going to be mistakes. Those looking for a quarterback to play a completely perfect game will always be left looking, because they’ll never find it. But Luck has taken significant steps forward when it comes to limiting those mistakes.
“That’s always the case and nobody is ever going to be perfect in that regard,” Chud said. “You look at the best quarterbacks that have ever played the game and there is some aspect of taking chances that pays off a lot of times. It’s those times when you have to make the decision and those decisions when not to, when to, when to give up on a play and when to know we’re going to get the ball back down the line. Again, just said it a minute ago, Andrew is still a young football player and a guy that’s growing and learning. I think if he approaches, which I’m sure he will because that’s the kind of guy he is, every season like he did this season and makes the kind of improvement he did during the course of this season, the sky is the limit.”
The sky is indeed the limit for Andrew Luck, though it would help him if the Colts surrounded him with a team that’s actually a solid team that supports their quarterback. Right now, however, that’s not the case in Indianapolis, and Rob Chudzinski is absolutely right in saying that Luck might be more valuable to his team than any player in football. But for Jim Irsay and the Colts management, that’s not a complement.