Everyone wants to know what Andrew Luck can do in his rookie season. Many are calling him the next best great NFL quarterback and giving him the Peyton Manning status already. Rightfully so, Luck showed us this preseason that his learning curve may not be as much as we thought and the Indianapolis Colts shouldn’t have as long as a rebuild as we once thought.
Many people are wondering if Luck could top last year’s No. 1 draft pick Cam Newton’s numbers. Newton threw for 4,051 yards with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. I’m going to go out on a limb now and say Luck will top those numbers and here’s why.
Indianapolis was given a gift of a favorable schedule this season. Three of their first four opponents’ defenses ranked 22nd or worse against the pass in 2011 with the Jacksonville Jaguars being the best at eighth. Three out of their first four opponents also ranked 20th or worse in overall defense with Jacksonville again being the best out of the four.
Jacksonville has gotten worse than they were last season as I’d expect them to win only one or two games this year. I think Indianapolis getting Jacksonville at home in Week 3 will be almost a guaranteed win and the Jaguars are the team with the best defense out of the first four opponents.
I’d expect Luck to throw for some big numbers in his first four games in the NFL as his opponents will struggle to defend the Colts’ offense. No one expected Luck to be in a veteran mode this quickly, but he has many weapons to throw to.
I expect rookies LaVon Brazill and T.Y. Hilton to have big years as they’re both speedy with great hands. Look for Austin Collie to be back as one of the leaders in receiving like he was in 2010 prior to his concussions, and Donnie Avery to be the speedy outside receiver that can move the chains. I didn’t even mention one of the best receivers to put on a Colts uniform Reggie Wayne either.
Luck also has two very good tight ends as weapons in rookies Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. Both could be compared to a Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combination like Tom Brady has in New England.
Allen and Fleener were both the top two tight ends in college last season and both are very big, extremely quick for their size, and have great hands. With the receiver weapons, these two could stretch the field in the middle and leave for open gaps for the slot receivers. If linebackers or safeties have to cover the short middle routes, then Fleener and Allen could expose defense deep downfield.
I think with all the weapons Luck has and the defenses that the Colts play this season struggling, Indianapolis should have a good year and Luck should break rookie records.