Andrew Luck needs help on the field according to two veterans
Andrew Luck is about to be a very rich man, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t use some extra help on the field.
Andrew Luck is poised to be the highest paid player in the NFL, and for good reason. He’s incredibly talented, can make any throw, and can carry his team when it’s needed. Unfortunately those traits also led to a series of injuries in 2015. Luck tried too hard to make up for his mistakes and win games all on his own and it cost him most of the season.
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Luck can’t do everything. The front office has to get him some help this season. Sure he has some skill position players that make the passing attack easier, but what about his protect? A run game maybe? These are two things that Luck can’t control.
When we look at the team’s list of needs for offense, protection and a run game jump off the page. I’d still say that some defensive needs rank higher (pass rush) and that more attention to that side of the ball will take a lot of pressure off Luck and company to perform.
Right now, the Colts are as much if not more dependent on Luck than they ever were on Peyton Manning. There is a reason Luck has 14 game winning drives through his first four seasons.
Two former NFL players have taken a look at Luck and what they see is a QB who needs some help. ESPN’s Trent Dilfer and Steve Young like what they see, but believe the Colts are an incomplete team. (Quotes via Mike Chappell)
"“I see a quarterback who needs help,’’ said Young. “Andrew Luck can carry as much water as (necessary) as he proved in his rookie year and he proved in his second year, third year. He carried as much water as any young quarterback that I’ve ever seen. Ever.“But that doesn’t mean he can do it alone. You cannot have a guy just take a pounding like he has. The thing about Andrew is he will never say ‘Uncle.’ You could put one lineman out there and he’d be like, ‘Oh, we’ll be fine. Just snap me the ball.’ That’s who Andrew is.’’I would tell Andrew to demand more,’’ he said. “I would tell Andrew to go in and say, ‘Look, I need more. Protect me. I don’t have to have the aces out there, but if you can’t protect me, I can’t help you.’’’"
Luck has never been one to throw a teammate under the bus. He’s very measured when he speaks about the team’s failing and often takes the blame when something wasn’t his fault. With Luck’s new contract should come a sense of inclusion within the Colts organization. Much like Manning had input on the team and offense, so should Luck moving forward.
Young agreed with the idea that Luck needs to be more assertive when it comes to team decision making.
"“I didn’t learn that until later,’’ Young said. “It took me a while and I wish I had done it earlier. I wish I would have done it in 1993 or ’94. I wish I would have said, ‘Hey, this is what has to happen. This is what I need. We might want to draft an offensive lineman.’“Andrew doesn’t think that way, but he needs to think that way. He needs to go in and partner with the owner and say, ‘This is what I have to have.’’’"
The Colts have spent four years trying to figure out the offensive line and nothing has changed. Luck can do a lot to protect himself, but having trust in his line would make a world of difference. A better line would also help create more rushing lanes thus making this facet of the offense more effective. An improved ground game will take more of the pressure off Luck to be the hero.
Dilfer actually got mad for Luck since he won’t do it for himself.
"“(I see) a battered guy that had no help, that was trying to fight his tail off and taking one on the chin for a general manager who hasn’t helped him at all,” Dilfer said. “It pisses me off that Andrew hasn’t been more pissed off, to be quite honest with you. The Steve Youngs of the past, the Troy Aikmans, Dan Marinos, John Elways, the transcendent-type players, have a voice. Use it.“Andrew needs to say, ‘Hey, we need to fix some stuff. Fix it.’’’"
The counter to this would be that the Colts have made a lot of moves attempting to address the line, but the vast majority of them have failed. The team has the left side of the line figured out, but needs to address center through right tackle.
Young addressed the idea that Luck regressed in 2015, which he doesn’t think is quite the case.
"“The onus is on the Colts to protect Andrew Luck. Same with Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers,’’ he said. “If you don’t protect these gems, these once-in-a-generation guys, you are nuts. It’s crazy. People want to say Andrew regressed (in 2015). Trust me, Andrew is the hardest working man alive. If he regressed at all, it’s because he was hurt. The guy will not regress unless you continue to not give him enough help.“I don’t want to see these phenomenal careers cut short or not get where they should be because you didn’t give the guy the help that he needs. These guys are all-time players.’’"
It is easy to look at Luck’s play and think he regressed, but how many games this season do you think he was truly healthy? Luck took a beating (sometimes self inflicted) this season and with broken ribs and a partially separated shoulder, his numbers are going to take a hit.
Young and Dilfer are both right: the Colts have to get Luck some help and make his job easier.