The Indianapolis Colts wasted a golden opportunity to set their franchise up for success, as despite landing a truly generational quarterback prospect in Andrew Luck, they were not able to even make it to the Super Bowl once in his tenure before injuries forced him to retire from the game earlier than expected.
The Colts already had a coach with some defensive acumen in Chuck Pagano that helped Luck win 33 regular-season games in his first few years in the league. With everything that a quarterback needs for success in this league and then some, why did Luck never make it to the big game?
As Bleacher Report chronicled in a piece that named the failure to provide Luck with help as the franchise’s biggest failure in the last half-decade (duh), GM Ryan Grigson continuously failed to give him players that were worth a damn in the draft and free agency.
That lack of offensive talent around him led to him holding the ball more, taking more big hits, and suffering some truly nasty shoulder and kidney injuries that ultimately hastened his exit from the game.
It goes beyond “unfortunate,” though. The list of players that Grigson brought in to support Luck is genuinely painful to read.
Andrew Luck wasn’t helped out by the Colts.
The Colts spent over $200 million in free agency, but they very rarely produced players that played up to their potential. They were either too told to recapture their former glory, like Andre Johnson, Trent Cole, or Frank Gore, or a poor fit that was paid too much money, like Arthur Jones, Gosder Cherilus, or the immortal Tom Zbikowski.
In addition to the issues Grigson had in free agency, he might have been even worse in the draft. He burned two first-round picks on Florida State pass rusher Bjoern Werner, who was flushed out of the league as soon as he came in, and Miami wideout Phillip Dorsett, who looked more at home running the 100 meters than running slant routes.
Grigson’s failures continued on Day 2, as Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort was bulldozed frequently, Clemson safety TJ Green looked totally lost in the pros, and FAU corner D’Joun Smith recorded a whopping one tackle during his single season in Indy. Luck never had championship talent around him, and he bolted after he couldn’t take any more.
Even if you land the game-changing quarterback, you still need to put the infrastructure in place in order to help him succeed. The Colts never did that with Luck, and while he had four Pro Bowl seasons in his short career, fans will be left with the nagging question of what would’ve happened if he’d been given an actual offensive line outside of Anthony Castonzo.