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  1. #1
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    Is Andrew Luck wearin' down?

    I started wondering how Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck was holding up a few weeks ago, after watching him miss some open throws and take too much of a pounding.

    The last four games, Luck has had his share of rough moments. This isn’t mentioned to be overly critical. It’s because, as I’ve said since preseason, the No. 1 priority is to protect this kid, the franchise QB, and not get him hurt. As much as he’s been hit, Luck has proven he’s plenty tough. He’s redefined resilience for any rookie who ever plays in the NFL.

    But this league is the school of hard knocks and bodies eventually break. Colts interim coach Bruce Arians conceded Monday the O-line needs to provide a cleaner pocket. While Luck insists he’s fine every time the question comes up, that he doesn’t have time to be affected by the “rookie wall,” his numbers of late suggest he could be wearing down.

    It has me hoping the Colts clinch a playoff spot either Sunday at Houston or the next Sunday at Kansas City, so Luck can recharge his battery as much as possible and sit down after a series or two in that Dec. 30th season finale at home against the Texans.

    Starting with the New England game, here’s why I’m concerned.

    – At New England, 27-of-50, 54 percent, 334 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTS, 1 sack taken, 1 lost fumble: The Colts lost 59-24 as Luck threw a pair of pick-sixes. He also lost a fumble on the sack that the Patriots quickly turned into a TD pass. The trip to Foxborough, Mass., is a challenge. It’s not all the QB’s fault. But he struggled after a strong start, when the Colts opened with two long TD scoring drives. The second pick-six was an underthrown ball to the sideline, the same mistake he made at Pittsburgh in a preseason game. The first-pick six, he overthrew the target, adjusting his arm angle under pressure. That second return typically doesn’t turn into a TD, but the Patriots defender weaved through the maze of bodies and came out the other end with six points. We all remember this game got out of hand in all three phases as the defense couldn’t stop QB Tom Brady or TE Rob Gronkowski and special teams gave up two long returns, including a TD. But we’re focusing on Luck in this blog.

    – Buffalo, 20-of-37, 54.1 percent, 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 sacks taken: The Colts won 20-13 because rookie WR T.Y. Hilton returned a punt 75 yards for a score and also caught a TD pass. Luck was hounded at times by the Bills, particularly Mario Williams, who had three sacks. The Bills have one of the NFL’s worst defenses, but the Colts walked away with a sluggish victory, one that shouldn’t have been this close.

    – At Detroit, 24-of-54, 44.4 percent, 391 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 2 sacks taken, 1 fumble (not lost): Everybody remembers the end, when Luck was at his best in the two-minute offense and drove the Colts to TDs on back-to-back drives, the latter a 14-yard TD pass to WR Donnie Avery on the final play. But before that, Luck and his receivers weren’t on the same page too often. On two of three INTs, rookie WRs admitted they made mistakes on their routes. But there were other missed throws and Luck took 13 hits. That for the most part explains 30 incomplete passes. Some ignore inefficiency because the Colts rallied for a stirring win.

    – Tennessee, 16-of-34, 47.1 percent, season-low 196 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 4 sacks taken, 1 fumble (not lost): Yes, the pick-six in the second quarter should have been overturned by booth review because Luck’s knee was clearly down, but it was an ill-advised pass when going down. The Titans aren’t that strong on defense, yet the Colts trailed 20-7 by halftime. Luck missed TE Coby Fleener on a couple of throws. Hilton broke free when the Titans blew a coverage on the Colts’ first possession, but Luck’s throw was too high and outside for the WR to catch it in bounds. If Hilton is hit in stride, that’s a touchdown. On a third-and-short situation in the second half, Luck tried to go deep to WR Reggie Wayne and overthrew him. Luck doesn’t need to be reminded the smart play is to just pick up the first down. Avery dropped a long TD pass after Luck scrambled, but the QB had room to run for a first down. Colts interim coach Bruce Arians encourages his young QB to always take a shot, to “keep slingin’ it,” so Luck is doing what his coach expects, but as Luck has shown when scrambling in the past, sometimes the best play is to get the first down and move the chains.

    Total up those games and Luck has completed 87-of-175 passes, 49.7 percent, for an average of 290.3 yards per game, 6.6 yards per attempt, with 8 TDs, 9 INTS (three of them pick-sixes), 11 sacks taken, three fumbles (one lost).

    Compare those numbers to his season totals: 296-of-537 passes, 54.9 percent, an average of 291.7 yards per game and 7.1 yards per attempt, with 18 TDs, 18 INTS, 32 sacks taken, 10 fumbles (five lost).

    The last four games have shown less passing efficiency with more mistakes and way too many sacks taken.

    Once again, in case anyone gets the wrong idea here, there’s nobody I’d rather see the Colts have at QB. Luck is the ideal cornerstone, the kind of player you want to build a franchise around. While I’m not nearly as smart as Colts GM Ryan Grigson, he will undoubtedly look to upgrade the O-line in the offseason. For now, let’s hope the Colts can take care of their QB more consistently so Luck has ample time to make the necessary throws, the sure pass completions, and cut down on the mistakes. That last part is on him sometimes, and he knows it.

    I remember when Tony Dungy became Colts coach and stressed the importance to QB Peyton Manning of not taking as many risks and understanding the importance of minimizing turnovers. While it must have sounded crazy at the time, Dungy insisted a punt wasn’t always the worst thing. Manning’s INTs decreased from 23 in coach Jim Mora’s final season in 2001 to 19 with Dungy in 2002, then to 10 the next three seasons and nine in 2006, when the Colts won a Super Bowl.

    But Manning also had the best protection in the league most years. Sure, it helped that he had such a quick release. But Luck has saved his O-line several sacks with his mobility, too. There’s a lot of new guys in the Colts locker room these days, guys who probably don’t realize what we came to expect when it came to pass protection. Manning was sacked a career-high 29 times in 2001. Yeah, Luck already has taken three more sacks as a rookie than Manning ever has in one season.

    In 2003, Manning was sacked 14 times. In 2006, just 13. In 2010, he took just 10! From 2002 to 2010, Manning averaged just 16 sacks taken per season.

    While we’ve enjoyed watching Luck work his magic — the Colts are 8-1 in one-possession games and he has six game-winning drives, most for a rookie QB since the 1970 merger — one can’t help but think there will be even better days ahead when the line is protecting him like it should and we’re no longer worrying about the future of the franchise taking too many hits.
    http://blogs.indystar.com/philb/2012...-wearing-down/
    "We earned this ****ing burn. It doesn’t matter how you get from A to B. Our goal at the beginning of this ****ing season is to win a ****ing World Series, and guess what, boys, we’re going to the ****ing dance." - The Reverend Hunter Pence


    <3
    "[He's] a really complete player... There's not really any weaknesses to his game." - Bill Belichick on Andrew Luck

  2. #2
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    Not at all! He has been plagued by so many drops its been ridiculous and to the point where you can just throw the completion % out the window! The o-line has not been good the past few weeks and is the reason he has had to take more sacks.... it was so bad in the first half of the Tenn game last week that they had to place two tight ends in the backfield just to provide enough protection for the hail mary at the end of the first half which of course was picked off! It improved dramatically in the second half. Coby Fleener was awful in the last Titans game too by the way, he has gotta make both of those catches, no questions asked! Teams are also scheming against us having to throw it down the field 40 times a game and with all the rookies on the roster, no matter how good they have been, they are making rookie mistakes and that is obvious. I think his biggest attribute is his brain and that is what is allowing him to succeed like he has. He blocks out the bad plays and plays for the next down. It is also a lot different than college with having to drastically scheme the offense for all the different styles of teams they face from week to week. You also have to look at how much they are throwing the ball down the field, he is not just missing open receivers as they are trying a lot of throws that other offenses would not want their quarterbacks throwing. This was predicted to be a disaster year for the colts by damn near all the experts and with the hard work of a lot of people this team has had an unreal transition! If Ryan Grigson doesn't win exec of the year, there shouldn't even be an award for the position! I mean it is week 15 and the Colts control their own destiny going into Reliant Stadium on Sunday, who could have imagined that scenario?

  3. #3
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    He's still mentally there, it does make some sense. Think about it - college players only go about 11-12 games a year. I think for a starting QB (and the focal point of your offense), as opposed to a RB or WR, it takes more of a toll on you. It's the transition that one takes on in the league.

    #iubb

  4. #4
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    Hard to not get worn down when you are getting killed game after game. That being said, I'm not too worried about him.

    And...here...we...go...

  5. #5
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    I don't buy this at all. The guy is under constant pressure from an O-line that is rather putrid. Anyone remember all of the INT's Peyton threw the last several games as a Colt? Trying to force things into tight windows when the opposing D knows exactly what you are trying to do? There isn't any difference here as there was then. And it all starts with the O-Line that is supposed to be protecting him. I expect them to do a lot of work on further revamping this team in the off-season.

    Also I don't buy the idea of a rookie wall anymore. Football even in college is a year round sport. It isn't like after the last game they just stop until spring practice starts again.
    French writer Alexis de Tocqueville warned about when visiting this fledgling democracy in the early 19th century – that this "American republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."

  6. #6
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    I think Wilson has a valid argument. Mentally Luck is as good as he was in week 1... but he has taken a beating this season. Look at all those fines that the NFL handed for illegal hits. that takes a toll.
    "We earned this ****ing burn. It doesn’t matter how you get from A to B. Our goal at the beginning of this ****ing season is to win a ****ing World Series, and guess what, boys, we’re going to the ****ing dance." - The Reverend Hunter Pence


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    "[He's] a really complete player... There's not really any weaknesses to his game." - Bill Belichick on Andrew Luck

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoosiercubsfan View Post
    I don't buy this at all. The guy is under constant pressure from an O-line that is rather putrid. Anyone remember all of the INT's Peyton threw the last several games as a Colt? Trying to force things into tight windows when the opposing D knows exactly what you are trying to do? There isn't any difference here as there was then. And it all starts with the O-Line that is supposed to be protecting him. I expect them to do a lot of work on further revamping this team in the off-season.

    Also I don't buy the idea of a rookie wall anymore. Football even in college is a year round sport. It isn't like after the last game they just stop until spring practice starts again.
    I see where you are coming from, but usually in college top players like Luck play on a top team that has top players surrounding him. I don't care how much you practice year round you can't simulate getting hit at full speed.

    I'm also confused you are stating the main reason why he would be worn down, which is the O Line is getting him beat up but not agreeing with the fact that he might be.

    IMO he is physically wearing down a bit, and hence we don't see him taking off and running as much..hence the fade to Avery from inside the 1 rather than the QB sneak we would have run early in the year on 2nd down. Mentally I believe he is getting a better grasp on the game and covering for him being a bit tired and beaten up.
    Last edited by matthollabak; 12-13-2012 at 10:36 AM.

  8. #8
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    I'm sure all the rookies are getting a little tired by this point in the season. You guys are right though about the o-line not giving him the protection he needs. That needs to be the priority for next season above all else.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthollabak View Post
    I see where you are coming from, but usually in college top players like Luck play on a top team that has top players surrounding him. I don't care how much you practice year round you can't simulate getting hit at full speed.

    I'm also confused you are stating the main reason why he would be worn down, which is the O Line is getting him beat up but not agreeing with the fact that he might be.

    IMO he is physically wearing down a bit, and hence we don't see him taking off and running as much..hence the fade to Avery from inside the 1 rather than the QB sneak we would have run early in the year on 2nd down. Mentally I believe he is getting a better grasp on the game and covering for him being a bit tired and beaten up.
    My comments on the O-Line are meant to help explain why his completion percentage is down which the article really seemed to hit on. You put a bad/banged up O-Line along with consistent drops of passes that should absolutely been caught you have a low completion percentage.

    Also just find it hard to believe that he is wearing down starting with the 11th game (Pats game). If you are going to see true wearing down wouldn't it start to happen in the last few games not just barely past the midway point? I think its less him wearing down and more the parts around him at this point. Also him running less imo is a great thing. I would rather him not take those hits that are going to come while running the ball. Either way no way to know for sure at this point. Will be something to continue to watch though.
    French writer Alexis de Tocqueville warned about when visiting this fledgling democracy in the early 19th century – that this "American republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."

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