The Indianapolis Colts now have added incentive to double down on their quarterback protection. With the first pick in the NFL draft, Jadeveon Clowney has joined J.J. Watt on the Houston Texans. Anyone who loves Andrew Luck should at all costs avoid YouTubing “The Hit” Clowney placed on Michigan’s Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl.
Luck has already been one of the most often hit quarterbacks in the league. Playing against Clowney and Watt twice a season could go one of two ways. It could make him better in an iron-sharpens-iron sort of way (because all Colts fans know there’s no more beautiful sight in sports than that peeved-off look in Luck’s eyes that signals he’s shifted into Angry Gear). Or, if the Colts aren’t intentional about protecting him, it could shorten his career.
Thus far, Luck has been pretty fortunate when it comes to his health (apparently “Luck” is more than just a name, it’s a lifestyle). But the organization cannot take him for granted, especially not after how injury impacted Peyton Manning (and he wasn’t hit nearly as much).
A solid offensive line has been on fans’ wish lists for a few years, especially with the added uncertainty at the center position. Now, with two guaranteed slug-fests with the Texans each year, added quarterback protection shifts from seeming like a luxury to being an honest to goodness necessity. The Texans were hardly a two-win team last year. If they figure out who’s going to play quarterback, they very well may enter this season much like the Colts did in Luck’s rookie year, and then we’ll see how “easy” the Colts’ schedule is.
The Texans have never won in Indianapolis, and I’d love to see that streak continue for a long, long time. The Colts can’t use Luck to overcompensate for a multitude of sins in other areas forever; that’s the mistake they made with Manning, and no one wants to go through that again.