INDIANAPOLIS — Despite the fact he had changes all around him — not to mention the fact he was coming off an injury-plagued season from the year before — Andrew Luck still shined, perhaps more than ever, in the 2016 season.
Sure, one can look at the more traditional stats — passing yards, touchdowns, etc. — and find better numbers for Luck in other seasons, but digging just a little deeper into Luck's 2016 season, one will find a quarterback who made much better, more consistent decisions, as well as a playmaker who, given enough time in the pocket, was certainly among the Top 5 at his position in the league.
Pro Football Focus, which prides itself on taking a deeper look into each and every play of a football game, certainly noticed Luck's standout 2016 season. On Tuesday, PFF's Sam Monson released his annual Top 101 Players from the just-completed season, and he ranked Luck — who went unranked in 2015 due to missing so much time — as the No. 33 player in the NFL in 2016.
You can click here for Monson's entire list, but here's what he had to write about Luck's ranking:*
This was the best season of Andrew Luck's career from a personal performance standpoint, and the closest he has ever been to actually justifying the lofty potential that was always thrown around when discussing him as a player. Luck eliminated many of the unforced errors that have always been a big part of his game, and his completion percentage jumped up to 63.5 percent on the year—more than two percent higher than any other season of his career. Luck had a very real Comeback Player of the Year case for his display this year.Best performance:Week 1 vs. Lions, 95.1 gradeKey stat: Luck recorded a career-high completion percentage of 63.5 and raised his average yards per attempt figure to a career-high 7.8 yards.*
Luck's numbers in 2016: 346-of-545 completed passes (63.5 percent) for 4,240 yards with 31 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, for a quarterback rating of 96.4. He also ran the ball a career-high-tying 64 times for 341 yards with two rushing scores.
Luck ranked eighth in the NFL in passing yards, fifth in passing touchdowns and ninth in quarterback rating.
As mentioned, he did this all coming off a trying 2015 season, as well as with many changes around him heading into the 2016 offseason.
After suffering injuries to his right shoulder, his abdominal region and lacerated his kidney — forcing him to miss nine games in 2015 — Luck came back on a mission for the start of 2016, but had a new full-time offensive coordinator in Rob Chudzinski, as well as a new quarterbacks coach in Brian Schottenheimer.
The Colts added to the stakes before the regular season began, when they signed Luck to the richest contract in NFL history.
Luck made the adjustments he needed to make and lived up to that hype, however, in 2016, and perhaps with an improving — and young — offensive line in front of him, he's bound to do even better moving forward.
And the exciting thing to Chudzinski is that he believes Luck "is not a finished product."
"He is still young in terms of quarterbacks," Chudzinski said of Luck at the end of the season. "You look around the league and who's in their prime and how many years they have been in the league and Andrew is still young in that regard.
"I've seen a ton of improvement; you look at his decision-making," Chudzinski continued. "I think statistically in terms of some of the production and his efficiency, his accuracy, his fundamentals, his footwork, all those things have improved. You look at his leadership as well, this is his team and it has become his team obviously over time. I can't be more pleased. I can't imagine there is another guy in this league that is as valuable to their team as Andrew."
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