Mazurek: Lucks needs help
Marek Mazurek | Monday, October 3, 2016
Every Sunday I turn on the TV and every Sunday I feel bad for the guy.
I watch him pour his heart out for 60 minutes every game, but every game he gets beat up and hit, and his receivers drop passes, and his team loses.
I feel bad for Andrew Luck.
Luck was supposed to be the savior of the Colts franchise. The Colts managed to go 2-14 the one year Peyton Manning was injured and win the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes. With their new franchise quarterback in hand, the Colts parted ways with Peyton Manning and looked forward to the glorious era of Luck.
But history repeats itself, as the Colts have yet to learn. In the Manning-era, the Colts were known for … well, just Manning. The Colts leadership didn’t give him a running game, they didn’t give him a defense and Manning did the best he could with what he had.
Granted, he did have two fantastic receivers in Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, and Adam Vinatieri filled his role. But by and large, the Colts lived and died by Manning from 1998 to 2010.
And Manning delivered. He was arguably the best quarterback in NFL history, and he did lead the Colts to one Super Bowl victory.
But Luck isn’t there yet. Luck isn’t Peyton Manning, and the Colts need to realize this fast. That starts with improving the offensive line and the defense.
Luck is getting beat up. It seems like every time he drops back, he’s getting hit. That needs to change if Indianapolis wants to become a contender. You have to give your star quarterback time to throw. In his first five NFL seasons, Luck has been sacked 124 times. That’s an average of almost 25 sacks per year, and that total doesn’t even count the hits he’s taken after the play or when he scrambles out of the pocket.
Since Luck is a big, tough guy, he is able to shrug off many hits — and some that I was surprised he got up from — but the sheer quantity takes its toll, even someone as tough and competitive as Luck.
Last year, Luck missed nine games with injuries that a doctor said resembled those of an automobile accident, not a football game. Luck suffered a partially torn abdominal muscle and a lacerated kidney. Anytime your franchise quarterback “lacerates” something, you should definitely take his protection more seriously.
Even if Luck’s health weren’t at risk, the Colts need a better offensive line simply to give Luck more time to find open receivers. That is how football works. If you look at top NFL quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, they have time to throw on almost every down. If the Colts want another Super Bowl berth, the offensive line should be a priority.
And then there’s the defense. The Colts are horrendous on the defensive side of the ball, to say the least. Currently, they are 26th in the league in passing yards allowed, and 30th in both total points and points per game. If your defense is giving up 31 points every contest, you can’t expect to win — with or without Luck.
And then, since the defense gives up a lot of points, the Colts are playing from behind, which means they have to pass more, which means the horrible offensive line can’t protect Luck. It’s a vicious cycle.
If you’re an Indianapolis fan, you should be mad at your ownership for not putting pieces around Luck. You have an elite quarterback, but he’s floundering because you can’t protect him and he’s getting no help from the defense.
You did well to get him. Now give him the tools to succeed.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.