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Young Colt: Who Needs Luck When You’ve Got LUCK? 0

Posted on November 08, 2012 by Andy Larmand

 

Through the first eight games of his NFL career, Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck, has thrown for 2,404 yards and helped his team win five games.

There was a lot of pressure on the Colts coming into the year. I mean a lot. For starters, they won just two games last season and were winless through their first twelve. On top of that, they parted ways with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time to move on to their quarterback of the future.

As a rookie quarterback in the NFL, No. 1 draft pick and successor to Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck has been forced into learning a little bit about living up to the hype. After leading Stanford to a 30-8 record in three seasons and racking up two second place Heisman Trophy finishes, Luck is rolling with the big boys now – even though he already was one in college.

Luck passed up the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 to return to Stanford for his senior season and develop even more skills as well as get his degree. When his college career was finally over, he had thrown for 9,430 yards and 82 touchdowns in just three seasons.

Then, on  Thursday, April 26, 2012, Luck began the next phase of his football career. He was officially drafted first overall by the Indianapolis Colts to be their immediate starting quarterback and replace one of the icons of professional football, Peyton Manning.

As a rookie, he has completely bought in to the Colts’ way. His leadership and work ethic are both already much further along than they should be at the young age of 23, which he turned just three days after the start of the season. If that wasn’t enough, he even recently shaved his head in support of coach, Chuck Pagano, who has been battling cancer for much of the season.

His first test as a pro came against the Chicago Bears and their crazy good as well as experienced defense. Luck looked all right, but his performance against what would turn into the top defense in the league in 2012 reflected that of a rookie. He threw three interceptions and just one late touchdown when the game was already out of reach in his team’s 41-21 loss on opening day.

The team went 2-3 through the first six weeks of the season with losses to the Jaguars and a 35-9 demolishing to the struggling Jets. They did, however, beat a couple of playoff contenders in the Vikings and the Packers. Luck did throw for 1,208 yards in the first five games (241.6 ypg). It was just a matter of really finding some consistency.

With the Jets game behind them, the Colts would be staring at some favorable match-ups in the coming weeks. A Week 7 game against the Browns with fellow rookie quarterback, Brandon Weeden, and Week 8 at Tennessee provided the Colts with a chance to turn things around. And Luck did just that.

With his team trailing late in both games, Luck engineered back-to-back game saving drives that ended up resulting in wins. His game-winning touchdown pass in Week 8 beat the Titans, got Indy to .500 in the division and pushed them over .500 overall for the first time since Manning had left.

Week 9 was more of the same as the Colts grinded out a 23-20 win over the hot Dolphins. Luck threw for a rookie record 433 yards in the win and mixed in two touchdowns with no interceptions. Through eight games, Luck has thrown 10 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions. Through eight games, Luck has thrown for 2,404 yards which is exactly what Manning had through his first eight games and tied for the most ever. Most importantly, through eight games, Luck has the Colts sitting at 5-3 and in 2nd place to the tough Texans in the AFC South at the season’s midway point. If the season ended today, the Colts would be in the playoffs as a wild card team. They have also already more than doubled their win total from last season.

Luck has become the second rookie in NFL history with four 300-yard passing games in his first year. The other was his predecessor, Manning. He also has four 4thquarter or overtime game-winning drives through eight games.  The four other rookie QB’s have combined for four among them. Of course, it helps to have a world class talent like Reggie Wayne at his disposal. Wayne has 61 catches for 835 yards and three touchdowns on the year and more importantly, has given Luck that go-to receiver that all young quarterbacks need.

Compared with the second overall pick of this year’s draft, Robert Griffin III, Luck has 2,404 passing yards to Griffin’s 1,993 and has two more touchdown passes. More importantly, Luck has two more wins than the electrifying Griffin, whose Redskins sit at 3-6 through nine games.

The hype, the preperation and the execution all have the Colts in position to return to the playoffs this year. As Luck prepares to face the Jaguars tonight, he can help his team take a giant step towards that goal. A win would improve the team to 6-3 and more importantly, to 2-1 in the division.

The Colts travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jags at 8:20 pm.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @RealAndyLarmand.

Carolina Panthers: In Cam We Trust 2

Posted on April 29, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

A bizarre and rapid rise from obscurity to super stardom has taken an interesting turn with the selection of Cam Newton as the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.

The selection means that the Panthers, who were 2-14 a year ago, are putting their future in the hands of a quarterback who has shown tremendous potential, but has just one season of experience as a starter at a big-time college.

Interestingly, this marks the first time since the initial draft for the franchise in 1995 that they have used a first round pick on a quarterback.

They certainly are hoping that this choice has better long term results than when they chose Kerry Collins with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft.

While Collins led the Panthers to the NFC Championship Game in just his second season in the league, by 1998 he was gone following a series of incidents that illustrated that Collins wasn’t mature enough to be the face of a football team when he joined the Panthers.

Panther fans are hopeful that history won’t repeat itself with Newton, a young man for which there are similar concerns about whether he has the discipline and maturity to be the face of an NFL franchise. Read the rest of this entry →

San Francisco 49ers: Reviewing The Last 20 Years of First Round Picks 4

Posted on March 07, 2010 by Blaine Spence
Dana Stubblefield proved to be great value for the 26th pick in the 1993 NFL Draft.

Dana Stubblefield proved to be great value for the 26th pick in the 1993 NFL Draft.

The San Francisco 49ers have two first-round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. With two picks, how could you go wrong? Well, in the last twenty years, the 49ers have had two first-round picks five times (and one year with no first round pick at all) with varying degrees of success. Here is a look back at the last twenty years of 49er first-round selections.

1990     No. 25     Dexter Carter                RB     Florida State

Does anyone else remember Dexter “Fumble” Carter? He was used mostly as a returner and never managed to crack the starting lineup as a running back. He debuted in San Francisco with eight fumbles his first season. Dexter did manage to stick around the NFL for seven years and a total of 33 fumbles. Grade D

1991     No. 25     Ted Washington        DT     University of Louisville

This is a tough one to call. Washington has been described as the premier nose tackle of his era, yet the 49ers let him go after three seasons for a fifth-round draft selection. Perhaps they didn’t see him progressing as much as they liked, or they thought he was better suited as a true nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme and were unwilling to abandon the 4-3 that they ran at the time. Grade C+

1992     No. 18     Dana Hall                DB     University of Washington

Another three-year wonder, Hall just plain stunk. Do you smell toast? Grade D

1993     No. 26     Dana Stubblefield      DT     University of Kansas

The 49ers made amends for trading Washington as Stubblefield was named Defensive Rookie of the Year on his way to a long, decorated career in San Fran. Grade A
Read the rest of this entry →

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