Life Without Luck: Where do the Colts Go From Here?
After playing six seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, franchise quarterback Andrew Luck surprisingly retired from the game of football on Saturday night, just two weeks before the season. Luck has been an elite quarterback in the league who has struggled with injuries throughout his career. The Stanford product finished with a 57-37 win-loss record while recording 23,671 yards and 171 touchdowns for the Colts. Luck has had a number of injuries including an ankle/calf problem that has kept him out of camp. That was his primary reason for walking away. With the talent the Colts put around him for this season, they were destined for a great season with serious Super Bowl intentions. Now with Luck gone, where does this young, talented Colts squad go from here?
The next guy in line to take over the reigns is fourth year quarterback, Jacoby Brissett. He was traded to the Colts in 2017 after backing up Tom Brady in New England his rookie season. Brissett got his chance to be the starter in 2017 after Andrew Luck suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out for most of the season. Brissett’s numbers were not particularly great in his time as the starter. He recorded 4-11 record for the Colts. Quarterback completion percentage can sometimes be a misleading stat, but Brissett only had a 59.1 completion percentage, which is well below average. Although with that experience, Brissett may have a better idea on how to be a productive quarterback in the NFL.
Despite the loss of Luck, the Colts have a wide array of talent on both sides of the ball. The trio of Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson, and Ryan Kelly make for one of the best offensive line groups in the league. With T.Y Hilton still being an elite receiver, Devin Funchess being acquired from Carolina this offseason, and two solid tight ends in Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle, the receiving corps is still very strong. These two position groups will be a huge asset for Brissett in his first full season as an NFL starter.
On the defensive side of the ball, last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Darius Leonard will be the anchor. The acquisition of Justin Houston will also have a great impact on the defense, as he will be a tremendous complement for Leonard. The secondary ranked 28th last season, but looks to improve with a more experienced Malik Hooker and Pierre Desir. As a defensive unit last season, Indianapolis ranked 11th, which is pretty good. Matt Eberflus will take on his second season as the defensive coordinator and look to improve this young defense.
In a league where a franchise quarterback is crucial, this will likely be a test run for Brissett to prove that he can lead a winning football team in the NFL. If it’s an underwhelming year for him, the Colts may look forward to a star-studded quarterback class coming up in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Colts are definitely no longer Super Bowl contenders but don’t rule out the possibility of a wild card spot depending on how solid Brissett can perform.
On a side note, as fans, we should thank Andrew Luck for all he has done for football. Luck is one of the greatest quarterbacking talents of recent memory and it’s a shame that some people are disrespecting him for a decision that was best for him and his well being. Let’s also not rule out the possibility of Luck returning to football one day. If he decides to step into the league again in 3-5 years, I don’t see him losing much of a step.