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Where Andrew Luck Looks to Improve

Posted Mar 3, 2014

Andrew Luck has had two of the best seasons by a quarterback to open a career in NFL history, yet the budding star never stops wanting to improve. Luck, who has won 22 games and thrown for 46 touchdowns, will focus on details to ensure continued success in 2014.



INDIANAPOLIS – Players who achieve like Andrew Luck has in his first two years usually are especially gifted and driven.

 

It is true in both cases with Luck, who from 2012-13 has directed the Colts to consecutive 11-5 seasons that included playoff berths and whose passing touchdown total (46) is among the best ever produced at that point of a career.

 

Luck is as consumed by winning as any great quarterback, though his even-keeled demeanor can obscure the fire within.

 

Still, Luck, visiting recently with Rich Gannon on Sirius XM NFL Blitz, pointed out areas for improvement for 2014.

 

“I think footwork, just making sure my feet are right,” said Luck.  “Pep Hamilton’s big on footwork.  Clyde Christensen, the quarterback coach, is big on getting your feet in the right place. 

 

“I think that’s where all the throws start – making sure your body is in the right position.  It gives you a fighting chance.”

 

Luck has given the Colts much more than a puncher’s chance every time he has stepped on the field.  Since 1950, only one player (Russell Wilson, 24) has more starting victories in an opening two-year span than Luck.

 

Luck additionally has directed 10 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most in that same career-opening span by a player since 1970.

 

Colts’ Record Under Andrew Luck

Year

Leading at Half

Leading after 3 Qtrs.

Tied at Half

Tied after 3 Qtrs.

Losing at Half

Losing after 3 Qtrs.

2012

6-1

7-1

0-0

1-0

5-4

3-4

2013

8-0

9-0

0-1

0-0

3-4

2-5

Total

14-1

16-1

0-1

1-0

8-8

3-9

 

Some observers offered the tired ‘sophomore slump’ theory as Luck entered 2013, but Luck refuted that by hitting 343-of-570 passes for 3,822 yards and 23 scores.

 

“I think we did a better job as an offense of limiting turnovers, especially not throwing interceptions,” said Luck.  “That was big for us this year.  (My) completion rate went up, that was good.  (It’s) nowhere near where it needs to be, but I think on the right track.”

 

Luck upped his percentage by six points off 2012, while shaving his interceptions in half (18-to-nine).

 

In two years under Luck, Indianapolis has converted almost 87 percent of its red-zone chances, with this past season’s 90 percent mark exceeded only four times in the past 29 seasons.

 

The club’s touchdown percentage (56.7) ranked 14th, 10th-best during the club’s 30-year Indianapolis era. 

 

 

Andrew Luck First Two Seasons in Red Zone

Times

Scores

Pct.

TDs

TD Pct.

48

40

83.3

26

54.2

50

45

90.0

28

56.0

 

The Colts have converted 40 percent of third downs in the last two years and incurred a mid-season slump when manageable distances were a problem.  That is a thrust moving forward.

 

“As an offense, and I know going into this offseason, (we’re) definitely going to focus on situational football,” said Luck.  “How do we get better in the red zone?  How do we get better on third down?  What can we do better in two-minute drills or four-minute drills?  That comprises a huge part of the game, bigger than I think many people know.”

 

Luck credits Pep Hamilton for leading a smooth transition to a new offense.  Hamilton succeeded Bruce Arians last year, and Indianapolis was put in dicey positions with the season-long losses of Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, Dwayne Allen and Donald Thomas within the first three games.

 

Reggie Wayne, who accounted for 29-to-31 percent of Luck’s attempts, completions and yardage through his first 23 career games was hurt and forced a young offense to keep growing with key components sidelined.

 

Other than the unsigned Bradshaw, all should return healthy in 2014.

 

“It was tough with Reg out.  Obviously he’s (had) so much production and third downs and red zones and everything,” said Luck.  “It was a great opportunity for other guys to step up, for myself to get better as a quarterback.  Having him back is going to be awesome.”

 

Indianapolis had seven turnover-free games in 2013, finishing strongly in the regular season by doing so four times in the last seven outings. 

 

The seasonal total was the most by the club in the last 16 years, and Luck helped the Colts set a franchise mark and lead the NFL with only 14 turnovers. 

 

Luck whittled his personal turnovers from 23-to-11, but had seven interceptions in a two-game playoff run.

 

“That’s probably the biggest issue going into the offseason, those turnovers in the postseason,” said Luck.  “We did such a great job during the season of limiting them. I realize a lot of that falls on me.  You can’t throw seven interceptions in two games and expect to win.  That’s a big focus this offseason, and, hopefully, I can improve on it.”


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