Last year, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck entered the season as one of the top MVP candidates. After all, he had just led the NFL in touchdown passes and finished third in passing yards in just his third season, so even bigger things were expected from him in 2015. Instead, Luck struggled through turnover-plagued football and injuries that forced him to miss nine games as the Colts faltered to an 8-8 record.
While expectations seem to have come back down to earth for the Colts entering 2016, there are still plenty of people who expect a bounceback season from the team's franchise quarterback - so much so that NFL.com's Adam Schein included Luck on his early list of top MVP candidates for the 2016 season. Luck was way down the list at number nine, but he still made it:
This is my way of saying he's back, too. Luck's healthy. And the 26-year-old quarterback is still an elite talent.
I think the Colts are the third-best team on paper in the suddenly competitive AFC South. But they still have the best QB in the division. And now that Ryan Grigson actually drafted a few offensive linemen to support the face of the franchise, Luck will mask areas of deficiency and remind you he's Andrew Luck.
Luck was one of four quarterbacks to make the list, behind the Patriots' Tom Brady (who was ranked first), the Packers' Aaron Rodgers (2nd), and the Panthers' Cam Newton (3rd).
The MVP hype for Luck right now is almost nonexistent compared to where it was at this time last year, but that makes perfect sense after a rough 2015 campaign. Schein's point in including Luck in the list, however, was to say that he doesn't expect Luck's struggles to continue moving forward. After all, this is a guy who has thrown for 14,838 yards and 101 touchdowns through his first four seasons with a team that wasn't overly good (and was the league's worst the year before he was drafted).
The assumption is that, with Luck healthy in 2016 and with (hopefully) better help surrounding him, the Colts and their quarterback should get back on the right track. That's why he was included on this list, and while I wouldn't put him near the favorites entering the 2016 season, it makes sense to at least mention the obvious: if he stays healthy and cuts down on the turnovers, the sky is the limit for Andrew Luck.