Arians: 'Luck made plays Manning, Roethlisberger didn't until later in careers'

Posted Jan. 12, 2013 @ 2:08 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

Colts QB Andrew Luck, who set an NFL rookie record for passing yards and tied the all-time mark for fourth-quarter victories en route to leading a 2-14 club in 2011 to 11 wins and a postseason berth, is his own biggest critic.

“I would give him an ‘A’, but he’ll give himself a ‘C,’ that’s just the type of kid he is," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who, after mentoring QBs Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger during their rookie seasons, again showed he has the magic touch with developing first-year triggermen. “He shouldered it without ever looking like he was pressed to carry the team. He just tried to do the job the best he could and at times I thought he was miraculous.

“He made plays that I’ve only seen Ben or Peyton make later in their careers, let alone as a rookie,” he said.

Not only plays; Arians put a lot more two-minute and no-huddle offense responsibilities on the plate of Luck than he did in the first seasons of a pair of future Hall of Famers.

That is not to say there isn’t room for improvement.

Luck, who we hear was in the film room dissecting tape less than 24 hours after the Colts season ended in the wild-card round in Baltimore, will work hard this offseason to strengthen his footwork and accuracy.

“You have to remember, Andrew was still in school for a good part of our offseason program, so he had a small window to learn,” said GM Ryan Grigson. “And that speaks volumes about not only his unbelievable brain and brain power — but also his work ethic and just the way he grasps things.”

Could Luck be asked to grasp a new offense in his second season, if Arians, who is interviewing for several head-coaching vacancies, departs?

If the Colts are forced to find a replacement for Arians — and we hear owner Jim Irsay is prepared to do whatever it takes to retain the PFW/PFWA Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year — we hear they would seek someone with a similar offensive philosophy. Although Arians admits "Luck has the talent, smarts and feel of the game to fit in any system," the Colts were the most successful downfield passing team in the NFL under Arians and Grigson surely won’t want to lose his fastball.