5 Things That Make Andrew Luck Even Better Than You Think

  • Andrew Luck
    Great leader who’s wise beyond his years

    Watching him on Sundays, you’d think that Andrew Luck has been in the league for a long time. Technically speaking, he has been playing the sport all of his life, so yes, he knows a thing or two about football. But it’s one thing to be a great player in high school and college—it’s another to do it successfully in the pros. It takes a certain type of player to excel in the NFL, and Luck is that type.

    Luck has looked like a seasoned vet out there, leading his team to 28 wins in his first three regular seasons—a team record. His stats speak for themselves, but beyond just the numbers, Luck has shown to be a leader both in the locker room and on the field. He doesn’t shy away from being vocal and proactively getting on his teammates in order to push them to do better—the true mark of a leader. Looks like those Peyton Manning comparisons might indeed hold some weight.

    image via USA TODAY Sports

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  • Andrew Luck
    Likes to dictate the terms

    Luck does an exceptional job of using his eyes to look off defenders in order to dictate the play. While going through his reads, he’ll often use his eyes to draw the safety to one side of the field, and then quickly flip his head and hit the receiver on the opposite side of the field who now suddenly finds himself in a favorable one-on-one matchup. And when you’ve got players like T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne on your team, as does Luck, that slight hesitation is all is needed for receivers to get open and make a big play down the field.

    image via USA TODAY Sports

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  • Andrew Luck
    Ability to prolong the play

    When nothing is open downfield, many young quarterbacks have the tendency to prematurely pull the ball down and take off running. That’s not the case with Luck. When the pocket collapses, he has the keen ability to scramble while simultaneously keeping his eyes down the field in order to keep the play alive. This pass-first mentality sets him apart from other quarterbacks around the league, as he’s able to extend the play and limit the potential hits he would inevitably take by rushing. At 6-4 he also has exceptional size for a quarterback, making it very tough for defenders to bring him down with arm tackles. Think Big Ben, but fast.

    image via Bleacher Report

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  • Andrew Luck
    He can turn on the jets when needed

    Luck is much more athletic than perhaps what people give him credit for. While he generally looks to pass first, he’s not afraid to tuck the ball and run for 5-10 yards at a time to pick up crucial first downs when nothing else is open. In terms of scrambling ability, some football gurus even regard him in the same category as elite mobile QBs like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III. In fact, believe it or not, the numbers prove that he’s an even more successful scrambler than his speedy counterparts. Given the spread, up-tempo scheme that offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton likes to run, there aren’t very many designed run plays for Luck, but when a play breaks down and there is nowhere to go with the ball, you can expect No. 12 to use his wheels to make the play. He can improvise with the best of ‘em.

    image via USA TODAY Sports

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  • Andrew Luck
    He has a winner's mentality

    It’s said that you discover the true character of a man when he’s down on his luck (no pun intended). Well Andrew Luck has shown resiliency and has responded well after facing adversity, and the numbers, once again, prove it. Since his rookie season of 2012, Luck and the Colts are an astounding 12-1 following a loss. That’s the best record during that time frame. As in, not even the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys of the world can claim such an accomplishment.

    In addition to that, Luck can be expected to put the team on his shoulders during crunch time. In his first two seasons in the league, Luck orchestrated eight fourth-quarter comebacks and 11 game-winning drives. Best of all, he’s never satisfied. Despite putting up 354 yards and four touchdowns in a Week 9 beatdown of the New York Giants, Luck still found stuff to improve upon, saying, “There’s some plays I messed up. I missed some throws. I don’t think I played very well.” Yet another tell-tale sign of a great quarterback.

    image via USA TODAY Sports

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  • Andrew Luck
  • Andrew Luck
  • Andrew Luck
  • Andrew Luck
  • Andrew Luck

In just his third year in the league, Andrew Luck isn’t yet mentioned in the same elite quarterback conversation as guys like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady, but if this season is any indication, that’s soon set to change. Where many overall No. 1 draft picks turn out to either succumb to the pressure and turn out to be busts or just take a long time to develop into pro-caliber players, Luck has made an immediate impact in the league, and has already climbed close to the top of the elite NFL QB ladder.

Luck’s first two seasons in the league, in which he led the Indianapolis Colts to consecutive 11-5 records, were pretty impressive on their own. But it turns out that he was just getting started. With Luck playing at a blazing pace halfway into this season, 2014 is turning out to be his official coming-out party for the former Stanford star. He’s already thrust himself into the MVP conversation and has started to draw comparisons to Peyton Manning—a guy that knows a thing or two about being a great quarterback. To put all this hype into perspective, let’s take a quick look at the numbers.

Playing in a pass-heavy offense, Luck currently has 432 pass attempts—tops in the NFL. And it’s not just that he’s got a happy trigger and is just slinging the ball around the field carelessly. Yes, he’s already passed his 2013 interception total (nine), but he has also thrown for a career-high 28 touchdowns, with seven games still left to play. He’s been extremely efficient, as evident by his 63.2 completion percentage and 99.4 passer rating.

Luck has thrown for 300-plus yards in eight straight games. He had thrown for the second-most yards (3,085) through nine games in NFL history, and was on pace to put up 5,484 passing yards, a mark that would surpass Peyton’s 2013 NFL record of 5,477. Just stop and think about that for a second—those are crazy numbers.

It isn’t just the shear stats that make Andrew Luck an elite quarterback—yeah, we said elite. Rather, it’s all the intangibles that make him stand out from the pack. He’s a triple-threat QB that is fun to watch—whether you’re a Colts fan or not. Flip through the slides to see the 5 Things That Make Andrew Luck Even Better Than You Think.

Follow Gurvinder on Twitter at @gurvindersg

image via USA TODAY Sports