By J.D. McKay
One week ago I wrote my NFL preview column. I was riding high on the Colts who have a great returning offensive line, solid defense, and upgraded receiving core. If you can recall I even picked them to beat the Patriots, who are Rob Gronkowski-less in the AFC Championship game, and Da Bears in the Super Bowl. Everything has now changed. Andrew Luck, the Colts starting quarterback, 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and potential 2019 NFL MVP retired. That means while the Colts should still be pretty good, they will not win a Super Bowl.
So now that Luck is retired, there are a couple subjects that need to be discussed: Where does that leave the Colts? Where does this leave Andrew Luck in the history books? What is the Colts game plan going forward?
The first one is not too hard; it leaves the Colts in the hands of Jacoby Brissett. He spent the first part of his career playing under Tom Brady and has started for almost one full season. Of course, Colts fans are crushed, but I do not think that it puts us in a bad place, at least for this season.
As for Luck, his legacy will be complicated. You cannot ignore the first few years of his career where he was sacked at least 27 times a season. That certainly led to his early retirement, and I think that can be blamed on Ryan Grigson, the Colts GM for the first few years of Luck’s career. However, last year he was sacked just 18 times. He also had an exciting career. His rookie year, he led seven come-from-behind wins, in what was a very exciting time as fans were Chuckstrong, in honor of head Coach Chuck Pagano’s fight against leukemia. Then, the next year he lead the third most exciting Colts post season game of my lifetime against the Chiefs. He came back from down 28 points to eventually win before losing to the Patriots. He then led the Colts to our third straight 11-5 season, before again losing the the Patriots in the playoffs in the Deflategate game. His next two years he missed most of the regular season before coming back to be 8-7. Then, last year he lead the team to the playoffs after starting 1-5 and won Comeback Player of the Year.
However, expectations for Luck coming in were higher. Mel Kiper said coming in the Luck was better than Peyton Manning. Some viewed him as the best draft prospect in 30 years. Bleacher Report and others did not stop there and wrote headlines saying he was going to be the best NFL prospect ever. When you read those, you expect better things than just an undefeated record against the Titans, one of the two teams the Colts beat the year before they drafted Luck.The expectations are Super Bowls, wins against consistent Super Bowl caliber teams, such as the Patriots and Steelers, and pro-bowls. Luck only managed to fulfill one of those, and it was not one that would get you a ring or a parade. I think that might put Luck in the category of busts. He is not the biggest bust in NFL history by any means, and while it would have been hard to reach any expectations, he was not really very close to getting there.
The Colts gameplan going forward should just to have a good year this year. The division is winnable, so make do. However, after this year, Jacoby Brissett is set to be a free agent, so if he does not re-sign, maybe the Colts will get another great QB prospect in Trevor Lawrence. This of course is very hypothetical, but a saddened fan can dream. Teddy Bridgewater is another name that has been thrown around as someone the Colts could use going forward. No matter what, the next few years as a Colts fan will either be extremely good behind our stud Brissett, or terrible behind one bad year of Brissett and then Tua Tagovailo from Alabama, or another bad year as we tank for Trevor.