The Indianapolis Colts were a team many picked to be in the Super Bowl this season. With the additions of wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Frank Gore, many felt Andrew Luck had the weapons he needed to make it happen. So when the season began, it was expected that the offense would be the best thing going for Indy. Well, that plan to have that explosive offense has not gone as some thought. The Colts offense has been very uninspiring in their execution. Plenty of things are going wrong that have led to the results they have got so far. The offensive line is not solid and that has not allowed Frank Gore to get on track. And even when Frank Fore has got some good runs, it usually results in a holding play. As far as TY Hilton, he has been small in his effect on the game so far this year. He suffered an injury in the first game and had a highlight play against Jets defensive back Derrelle Revis, but he has not been the guy people expected him to be. If there has been one bright spot for the Colts offense it has been wide receiver Donte Moncrief. He has been effective when given his chances.But even through all the issues the Colts are having offensively, the big connector to all of them is their star quarterback: Andrew Luck.
When Andrew Luck was selected, there was the feeling the Colts were getting the next great quarterback in the NFL. And along with that, there were things that people looked past while anointing him the next great quarterback. For example, Luck has been pretty careless with the football for stretches. Take a look at the playoff game against the Chiefs in the 2013 postseason. Luck had three interceptions that game and helped that team dig a huge hole for themselves. He eventually dug himself out of that hole, but that does not change the fact that he was careless with the football. And starting this season, it seems as if he has not valued the football at all. He has 3 touchdown passes on the season, but he also has five interceptions. And on those interceptions, it seems like he is trying to force things rather than take what is given to him. The result of him trying to force the football has landed him with the worst quarterback rating of his young career. But looking around the league, the benefit of the doubt has been given to him a lot. In fact, plenty want to blame the offensive line for what all he has done so far. But in the case of some of his contemporaries, it seems the opposite treatment happens. For example, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been a constant lightning rod for criticism because some feel he has not lived up to expectations. But if you take a look at what he has, he is doing excellent with what has been given him, especially the last two seasons. His offensive line has been a hodgepodge of players that were picked up off practice squads or afterthoughts to make the team, his running backs have been largely underachieving and besides Steve Smith, not one wide receiver he has had scares anyone. Yet he takes what he has and he makes that team go. Cam is just one of a few examples of players that get raked over the coals for their bad play. If he was the one in Andrew Luck’s shoes, there would be harsh criticism out there. But somehow Luck continues to avoid the criticism that he so justly deserves so far this season.
The fact of the matter is he is playing bad football. It has nothing to do with the offensive line. The real truth is they have been shaky since he got there but he still succeeded. If you take a look at his career, he has taken a ton of hits but he has also made a ton of good throws while being hit. But this season, he has made some bad throws in those same situations. His struggles also have nothing to do with Andre Johnson and TY Hilton. They are getting open but just not getting the football. Offensively, this has everything to do with how Luck is playing. He is not playing like the best young quarterback in the NFL. He is playing like a quarterback trying to do too much. For him going forward, he has to relax, play the game and continue to take what the defense is giving him. If he continues to play as he is playing now, then the team will continue to go in the downward spiral that they are in now. Frank Gore, who came to play with Indianapolis because of Luck, thought he was coming to play with an elite quarterback. But right now, Luck is not playing better than the quarterback Gore left in San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick. And if you take a look at statistics and the games he has played this year, Luck is among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL through two games. Luck has 14 games to get it together and he more than likely will. We all know what he is capable of by looking at his numbers. But the overall lesson that can be taught in looking at Luck is that many crowned him too quickly. Let him earn his stripes to be the best young quarterback in the NFL. Because right now, it is not clear that he is the best young quarterback in the NFL. There is one in the Northwest that can definitely give him a run for his money on that one. And his name is Russell Wilson.
This Sunday is a big game for Luck and crew when they come to Tennessee this weekend. Marcus Mariota and the Titans will be fired up. They see a Colts team that is playing bad and want to take advantage of them. This is where leaders step up and lead their teams. Will Luck step up and lead them or will he continue the downward spiral? We will have to find out on Sunday. But as it currently stands, this disaster on offense rides on the shoulders of Andrew Luck. And it is up to him to dig them out of this hole offensively. When tough situations happen, that’s when great quarterbacks and leaders step up and make it happen. The next challenge has now arrived Mr. Luck. Are you ready to accept?