It has been three weeks since the phenomenon that is Andrew Luck has entered the NFL. With one win and two losses to his name thus far, Luck has justified some of the expectations placed on him coming into his rookie season, but he still has much to learn.
The NFL is the elite of football, and players are never done learning. Luck has run the ball well and proven his intelligence and maturity on various occasions, but he is no exception to the rule. The Colts have a bye this week, and Luck must use it to its fullest extent to help his team continue to move forth from an atrocious 2011 season.
Here are the things he needs to work on this week:
Increase Completion Percentage
This statistic is always skewed as it relies on receivers and defenders as well as quarterbacks, but there is still a certain level starting quarterbacks are expected to remain at. Completing 53.3 percent of your passes through 122 attempts is not at that level.
The Colts already have offensive struggles, and they can’t afford to see balls hitting the turf. Improved protection is part of the equation, but Luck must spend the week getting comfortable in the pocket. He completed 71.3 percent of his passes last season at Stanford, so he is capable of consistent accuracy.
Now, he just needs to show it again at the next level.
Rest of the Team
This one isn’t really on Luck, but he can help it out. The specific problem is the running game. Through their first three games, the Colts have averaged only 90.3 rush yards per game on an abysmal 3.7 yards per carry.
An effective passing offense opens up lanes for the running game, but the opposite is true as well. Luck needs to have a running game established around him in order to gain some time when he drops back. If Luck can complete a varied length of passes, the running game will see more space, but ultimately Luck can’t do it alone and needs help.
Furthermore, this week off will allow Luck to continue to work with his receivers and gain some trust.
Luck has been effective overall thus far, and that comes from avoiding errors—but he has hasn’t been perfect. In such a weak offense, each of his errors are magnified.
Luck has thrown five touchdowns, but he also has four interceptions including a horrific one to Paul Posluszny. That kind of throw is unacceptable, and Luck needs to consistently demonstrate the maturity that made him such a coveted asset.