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Andrew Luck Is A Good, Not Great Quarterback: NFL Unfiltered Week 2


NFL starting quarterbacks fall into tiers.

And in my view, the top tier comprises Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, in no particular order.      

After that, it’s a mixed bag of Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan.  All of whom might play at a higher level for 6-8 games each season.  

Then comes the guys people want to rank higher, but they always manage to disappoint for one reason or another.  This group includes Matthew Stafford, Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill.  

The rest of the league’s starters are either newbies in the early stages of their development like Derek Carr, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.  Glorified journeymen like Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins and Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Or, second stringers like Case Keenum and Blaine Gabbert, who start because apparently, nobody else qualifies.  Photo: muzul.com

Where does that leave Andrew Luck?  

Based on my quarterback hierarchy, Luck belongs somewhere on the third tier next to Stafford.  

That is to say Luck is good. At times, very good.  He just isn’t great and nowhere near as good as originally advertised.  It is time for fans and pundits alike to stop perpetuating a false narrative; he is not the second coming, nor is he the next (fill in the blank).  

Is he the best quarterback prospect to come along in a decade?  Maybe.  But only if you assume he knew more about the complexities of NFL defenses than Newton did coming out of Auburn.  Or, you think Luck’s athleticism is far superior to Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston.  

In either case, the best prospect in a decade label speaks more to the pile of average drafted by NFL executives every year, than it does Luck’s actual skill.  

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Look, the love for Luck is completely understandable.  He represents everything the experts say a NFL quarterback needs for greatness.  He is 6’ 3”, 235 lbs, is as athletic as any quarterback in the league, makes every throw with ease and is presumably ahead of the learning curve when it comes deciphering coverages.    

Simply put, Luck looks the part.  Combine that with the fact he comports himself in a way most prefer, and it is easy to see why critiques of his game are often unbalanced.  

Still, Luck has far too many Kirk Cousins-like performances for a player with his pedigree to call him anything more than a good quarterback.  

The truth is, he isn’t the “can’t miss” prospect many said he was after his sophomore season at Stanford. In fact, Luck misses plenty as his 58.2% completion percentage shows.  

Consider, in Luck’s four seasons (plus two games in 2016) he has thrown for 15,420 yards and has a 106-56 touchdown/interception ratio, but a rather uninspiring 85.3 passer rating.  And while he has a 35-22 record as a starter, he is 17-2 against the AFC South, easily the worst division in football since Luck’s debut in 2012.  That makes him 18-20 against rest of the league.  

Clearly, Andrew Luck is a good player.  And it is equally clear Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano are just two of many in the NFL victimized by The Peter Principle.  

But Luck isn’t nearly as good as everyone believed and he is certainly not the next John Elway.  



-In a vacuum, the NFL is not producing a very entertaining product.  Gambling, and its once-a-week, 16-game format, aids immensely.  If the NBA could put their greed to the side and shorten the regular season to about 65 games, it has the athletes and intrigue to become America’s most popular spectator sport.  

If you think the last statement is silly, ask yourself how often you enjoy watching a regular season NFL game where your favorite team wasn’t playing and no fantasy points were at stake?  

-Perhaps I am guilty of paying too much attention to the details, and obviously, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has his squad playing well.  But it doesn’t make any sense to run Darren Sproles up the middle and Ryan Mathews wide.  Still, they scored so I suppose it doesn’t matter.  

Watching Jay Cutler destroy teams from the inside out with his subpar play, leads me to a question: Are we at a point where a black quarterback can start for 10 straight years performing at the level Cutler has?  Because at this stage in NFL history, is hasn’t happened.  Photo: sportsworldreport.com

-Before getting into a classic barstool argument with someone about the NFL, find out if they play fantasy football first.  Why? Simple, if you only pay attention to one team (your favorite) and a bunch of unrelated players, there is no way you can properly contextualize the value of a player like say, Tannehill.   

-If the Bears were smart, they would try to trade their top three receivers for as many draft picks as they can get.  This season is already lost.  

-The difference between Seattle head coach Pete Carroll today and five years ago, is quarterback Russell Wilson.  The Seahawks have always had average offensive line play and average wide receivers.  Now that Wilson is slowed by a bum ankle, his true value is on display.  

-To some degree, the Saints’ defensive struggles make sense since head coach Sean Payton’s expertise lies in offense.  But the fact Oakland and Buffalo look lost defensively is inexcusable for both Rex Ryan and Jack Del Rio. 


Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.


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Photo: muzul.com

Russell Wilson photo: sportsworldreporters.com