Unlike so many teams around the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts haven't had to worry about their quarterback position for most of the past two decades. First it was Peyton Manning, and then after a rough 2011 season, they drafted Andrew Luck.
With Luck at quarterback, the Colts have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years, though 2015 was a tough year for both Luck and the team. Despite that, the Colts still have a quarterback situation that rivals any in the league.
Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty ranks each team's quarterback situation every year, and he looks at more than just who the best player is: he also factors in age, injury history, and things like that to compile his list of the best situations. In other words, teams with a young franchise quarterback like the Colts are going to fare well in this ranking, and last year the Colts were even ranked first.
This year, they dropped a few spots, but they still come in at number four behind the Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson), the Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers), and the Carolina Panthers (Cam Newton). Here's what Daugherty wrote about the Colts:
Neither Andrew Luck's physical nor mental gifts are in doubt. The 26 year old can make any throw, and is Roethlisberger-strong in the pocket. He is one of the most outwardly cerebral athletes in sports. He’s won. A lot. None of that can hide the fact that 2015 was a major step backwards. Even though he was playing hurt before he got injured, Luck’s performance cannot be excused. He produced only two more touchdowns (15) than turnovers (13), and was more Blake Bortles than Peyton Manning with his accuracy. The disastrous campaign also brought Luck’s good-but-not-great career numbers into sharp relief. Through 55 starts and 2,106 NFL throws, Luck has completed a mediocre 58.1 percent of his passes. He’s barely cleared 7.00 yards per attempt (7.05), and is the owner of an 85.0 quarterback rating. Luck is a born playmaker. He almost singlehandedly turned a 2-14 disaster into a three-time division champion overnight. But he’s not a finished product, and four years in, it’s fair to wonder what Luck is working toward. He still might be the heir apparent to Manning, Brady and Rodgers. He could also be a glorified Matthew Stafford. The former is still more likely, but the latter must at least be considered. That wasn’t the case this time a year ago.
We mentioned yesterday how Sports Illustrated included Luck in their list of quarterbacks with the most to prove in 2016, and the inclusion is warranted. This is an important season for Luck after a very rough 2015 in which he played poorly (a 15-to-12 touchdown to interception ratio and 13 turnovers in seven games) and missed nine games due to injury.
Despite that, it's still tough to ignore the things that Luck has going for him. He was very good in his first three seasons with the Colts, has the skills and traits you'd want in your quarterback, is young (he's 26), and is coming back healthy this year. All of those things give plenty of reason for optimism for 2016 and it's fully expected that Luck will return to his prior level, so that's why the Colts are included at number four on this list. That's a very good ranking and nothing to complain about, despite the drop of three spots from last year.
That drop is also understandable. Russell Wilson was fantastic in 2015 and is also young (he's 27), so it makes sense for a ranking that comes out this offseason (with 2015 most recent in our memories) for Wilson to put the Seahawks first on this list. The Packers with Aaron Rodgers are an easy choice to be right near the top too, as though Rodgers is older than guys like Wilson and Luck, he's still only 32 years old and at the top of his game. And then Cam Newton is the reigning MVP and is 27 years old, so the Panthers making the top three is also very logical.
There's no shame for the Colts in coming in fourth on this list behind those three teams, and after what happened in 2015 it's not unexpected to see a slight drop. But with Andrew Luck's skillset and his potential, it's hard to imagine him continuing to struggle if he's healthy in 2016 and he should get back on track, reminding everyone why the Colts are set up so well at the quarterback position both now and for the next several years.