Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III may have had better rookie seasons overall than Andrew Luck but they also didn’t deal with the backfield-jailbreak that the Indianapolis Colts quarterback faced every given week. Part of that is how much Bruce Arians elected to have the team’s No. 1 overall pick air it out durng his rookie season and it is just as much how poor the offensive line played in pass protection.
This is not to mention how little fear the Colts’ run game struck in the heart of opponents last year, ranking bottom-third in the league in most major categories and largely due to a weak run push in the trenches. Those types of things also allow edge rushers to pin their ears back and fly at Luck.
The franchise has made a concerted investment in bolstering a line that had only one player of true promise in 2012 with left tackle Anthony Castonzo, a former first rounder. Left tackle Gosder Cherilus comes to town after an excellent season with the Detroit Lions while interior linemen like Mike McGlynn must fight for a starting job this time around.
Luck took 41 sacks and was hit more than any quarterback in the league last year in breaking the rookie passing attempts record, and this was not sustainable with the 2012 incarnation of this line.
“We don’t need him running for his life. We need him to feel as comfortable as possible,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said, via the Indianapolis Star, before commenting on all the offensive line depth the team has added in recent months. “This is a long, grueling season. You can never let off the gas. You never know what tomorrow’s going to bring.”