With one of the greatest football players who ever showed his face on an NFL football field in PEYTON MANNING being released this week, it is of grand importance that the Colts go after (if they haven’t already!) and get ready to sign one ANDREW LUCK in the near future. They need another star or face for their franchise (and offensive and defensive weapons for him too) or the Colts will be headed for the dark days that they experienced back in the early to mid-1980s and early 1990s.
As smart as Luck is—valedictorian in high school; Stanford University honor student; architecture major; easily could have won the Wuerffel Trophy for great college football student-athletes two or more times; and he stayed in school an extra year partly because he likes school—he will need some time to adjust to the NFL game, but when he is ready and the coaches feel he is ready look out. Luck has the brains, arm strength, solid athleticism, throws a crisp and catchable spiral, is easy to coach, a people person, and he is very competitive. Offensive coordinators and offensive coaches alike die for quarterbacks like Luck.
But the NFL, no matter what anyone says, is a marathon not a sprint as far as developing players. The Colts cannot and will not win consistently with the quarterbacks they have. They must upgrade their offensive line or get better play out of that unit for Luck to have a chance to succeed. Their receivers need to step up or stay healthy for Luck to get a rhythm and become the quarterback that he is capable of being. Their defense needs to get more aggressive and help out ANTOINE BETHEA, DWIGHT FREENEY, and ROBERT MATHIS because even as talented as they are they cannot do everything on defense. Having a gifted player like Luck can help restore prosperity and excitement that was prevalent in this franchise from 2003-2010. Having a star quarterback matters as it puts people in the seats, makes offenses more exciting, and keeps defenses off the field, which is something that the Colts saw far too often in 2011.
Luck can get along with just about anyone and when you combine that personality trait of his with his talent and smarts, there is no reason that Luck cannot make it work with receivers REGGIE WAYNE, ANTHONY GONZALES (if he’s resigned/and if he can stay healthy), AUSTIN COLLIE, BLAIR WHITE, PIERRE GARCON (refer to Gonzales), and tight ends DALLAS CLARK (injury risk) and JACOB TAMME. People think it’s all about talent and arm strength with quarterbacks… no, part of the whole enchilada is getting along with the receivers and tight ends that they have to go to war with game after game and practice after practice. If your receivers and tight ends can’t stand you as a quarterback behaviorally then that can spell trouble.
Luck likes to drop back a few steps and survey defenses and he likes to take his time when he’s back there; Wayne is a timing route type of receiver meaning that you have to let him finish his route and let him use his world-class hands and body control to latch on to your passes. Luck has the patience as a passer and the brains to annoy defenses, he can play mind games with defenses that they at times will never see coming. Plus he can pass on the run and succeed in shallow checkdowns which are some of the big parts of Clark, Wayne, and Collie’s collective games for the past couple of years or so.
Luck needs a franchise that is struggling or is in a transition period, and one that will let him sit and absorb its system and then throw him in and let him try to save its franchise. That sentence describes exactly where the Indianapolis Colts are at the moment. Let him sit and learn the system from a veteran quarterback that is in the twilight of his career or one who will be around just for a year or so contract-wise and then when Luck is ready this veteran will step aside or retire. It doesn’t matter how smart or gifted a passer is, you do not throw a rookie quarterback to the wolves and expect him to save your franchise just like that.
Veteran candidates at quarterback they could bring in include DAVID CARR from the New York Giants; SHAUN HILL from the Detroit Lions; JAKE DELHOMME from the Houston Texans; maybe KEVIN O’CONNELL from the New York Jets; possible VINCE YOUNG from the Philadelphia Eagles; KELLEN CLEMENS from the St. Louis Rams; and possibly REX GROSSMAN from the Washington Redskins. Many of these quarterbacks have not and may not be re-signed by their respective teams and they could help the Colts in the short term or until Luck is ready to go.
The offensive line needs to be either upgraded or developed by the time Luck is ready to go. Offensive guard RYAN DIEM is expensive but he needs to be re-signed because he has been one of their better offensive linemen for the last half decade or so. The Colts need to find out if former Rimington Award (award for the best center in Division I college football) winner AQ SHIPLEY can replace JEFF SATURDAY at center someday or in the present. Outside of left tackle ANTHONY CASTONZO, the Colts do not have a definitive answer of who will start on the other side consistently at right tackle among JEFF LINKENBACH, QUINN OJINNAKA, JOE REITZ, MIKE TEPPER, and others. And some of those players have and will be worked at guard. The Colts may want to seriously consult the draft to find replacements or their next stalwarts on the offensive line. These are variables or questions that need to be solved if when the Colts draft Luck or when he’s ready to go.
When a team has a franchise player like Luck they look for ways to help make him look good and so the offensive line questions, the receiver questions, and the defensive questions must be answered by the Colts in the immediate future and I have a funny feeling that the Colts will get it together. Don’t expect Super Bowl appearances in the close future, but do expect that the Colts will find their way back to the top of the mountain with extreme preparation and painstakingly hard work. Andrew Luck must be part of that equation and there should be NO trading out of the first pick of the draft for more picks or none of that nonsense, Colts please listen to this writer, draft Andrew Luck and let him breathe and then insert him as your starting quarterback.
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