Although many were taking them to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50, here’s why the Indianapolis Colts completely screwed up the roster.
Actually, come to think about it, it’s a gross understatement. The fourth-year pro out of Stanford is so good that most NFL personnel guys would choose him as the top dog if they had to start a franchise with just one player.
Nevertheless, at one point after last year’s AFC Championship Game beat-down at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Luck must have found found it necessary to collect his thoughts during some solid alone time.
Pondering whether or not his Indianapolis Colts front office would equip him with the necessary tools that will allow him the chance to become Super Bowl champions, had to be an obvious thought.
Fast forward eight months and many realize Luck is still unsupported.
Despite a general consensus drawing the conclusion that the Colts were among the few AFC teams who’d make it through January in 2016, general manager Ryan Grigson did Luck and his franchise one of the bigger injustices seen in a long time.
He acted as though his personnel base was close, when in fact, it’s not.
Grigson acted swiftly this past offseason. He signed veteran skill position players at every turn. Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and Trent Cole were the headline additions. All three are above 30-years old and will play a key role this season.
Were these guys truly necessary?
Instead of adding old, tired skilled position players at semi-big money, Grigson could’ve built his team the tried and true way – through the offensive and defensive line.
A season ago the Colts were the No. 3 ranked offense in the league with 406.6 yards a contest. They led the league in passing with 4,894 yards through the air. Luck led the NFL in passing TDs (40) and finished second in yards (4,761).
Winning two playoff games – once again adding onto their trajectory of improving each season – had them in the AFC Title game.
The issue here is Grigson not correctly eyeing “blind success.”
Blind success comes when a player is so special that he raises the level of his team such an extent that the organization suddenly believes in false prophecies. Because of Andrew Luck, many now believe T.Y. Hilton is a superstar receiver (despite the many drops). Becuase of Andrew Luck, most feel the offensive line can pass as an above average group. Because of Andrew Luck, the NFL suddenly thinks a running game isn’t needed.
Indy finished 22nd in the league in rushing a season ago. Ahmad Bradshaw was hurt early and finding a running back was a key issue. (Let’s not even get into the biggest boneheaded decision that was Trent Richardson.)
While the offensive line didn’t do much by way of the run game, only yielding 29 sacks suggests they did a pretty solid job protecting the franchise. Right?
Not a chance.
Luck is the type of quarterback who’s equipped with eyes in the back of his head. He escaped so many hurries and hits with his flat out remarkable pocket presence that it could be argued the Colts offensive line was one of the five worst in terms of protecting the QB last season.
At times he’s forced to run for his life.
What Luck is slowly turning into is this generation’s John Elway. He’s the talented gunslinger who always pushes his team past the point they truly deserve. Elway did it with his Denver Broncos on three occasions in the 1980s.
The story always remained the same. He came up with miracles during the AFC Playoffs and once the Super Bowl came around – and a truly dominant team showed face – the Broncos would be blown away.
Same thing is happening with these Colts. Luck was enough to get them by the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos a season ago, but when greatness came to face them, a result like 45-7 came about.
Instead of Grigson understanding his defensive front needed to be improved based on their lackluster 22nd ranking in 2014, he decided to load up on old skill-position players. Instead of beefing up the offensive line and taking his time to build the team the right way, he went for the quick fix.
It’s a critical mistake that already reared its ugly head in Orchard Park against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, and will continue the rest of this campaign.
Sure the Colts will win the AFC South. Actually they’ll probably run away with the division. But that’s just how good Luck is. He’s good enough for 10 or 11 wins on his own.
It’s the true team that wins in the playoffs, and unfortunately for Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck, their personnel went backwards this past offseason.
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