The Colts have been a pinnacle of success for most of the last 10 years. But has Irsay’s mismanagement in recent years irked Luck enough to do the unthinkable?
Andrew Luck is a fantastic talent. He is a once in a generation type of quarterback, with perfect size and arm strength to be the prototypical commander that all NFL teams covet. He has been to Pro Bowls, played in an AFC championship game, and led the 2nd largest comeback in NFL postseason history (28 point comeback against the Chiefs back in 2014).
But for all of his accomplishments wearing the Horseshoe, he has had some rough seasons recently. He hasn’t been able to stay on the field. And when he has he’s been battered and bruised behind one of the worse offensive lines in the league. Since Luck has been in the league, he has taken more hits than any other quarterback in the league. Some of that is because one of Luck’s best attributes is the ability to extend plays and keep his eyes downfield to find receivers who have come open. But the overwhelming majority of blame has to fall on the offensive line. And the people who put the offensive line together. And the people (or person) who hired the people to put the offensive line together.
The failings of the offensive line in Luck’s tenure has been staggering. Some of that is because of a lack of continuity due to injuries. Some of it is because of the poor play from the offensive lineman who were brought in via free agency. But the biggest failing with this unit has been the complete lack of effort to improve the unit with draft picks.
Only recently have the Colt’s brass attempted to use quality draft picks to improve Luck’s protectors. Ryan Kelly only and La’Raven Clark are the only offensive lineman the Colts have selected with a top 3 round pick in the last 3 years, despite the glaring need to protect the franchise. Most of this falls at the feet of Ryan Grigson, who did not draft well during his tenure at GM with the Colts. In fact, only Luck and Kelly remain as first round picks on the Colts’ roster. And of course everyone remembers the disaster that was the Trent Richardson trade that saw the ineffective running back come in from Cleveland in exchange for a first round pick in 2014.
With all of the personnel issues and coaching problems, only one constant remains behind them. Jim Irsay. He is the man who hired Grigson. He is the man who promised Colts fans that Andrew Luck would be ready for the beginning of this season. And then eventually at some point this season when that didn’t happen.
Irsay has tried to fix his mistakes by hiring Chris Ballard as GM las off-season. He just fired Chuck Pagano as well. He is clearly trying to make amends. Getting Luck an offensive minded head coach in Josh McDaniels should help too.
The Colts can help ease any potential tension by getting Luck some more playmakers as well. He could use more wide receivers who are sure-handed. More down the field threats other than T.Y. Hilton would help as well.
Luck just signed a massive 5 year extension last off-season. He is not going anywhere anytime soon necessarily. But he has to have had thoughts about asking for a trade to preserve his career. Colts fans can only hope to have Irsay be better for Luck, and to have him for years to come.