News & Analysis

BREAKING: Andrew Luck intends to retire, pushes Jacoby Brissett into the spotlight as Colts' starter

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck informed the team he is retiring from the NFL.

PFF's Sam Monson on Andrew Luck and the impact of his retirement:

Luck was one of the most highly touted quarterback prospects of all time when he came out of Stanford back in 2012, but an early career under siege behind struggling Colts offensive lines has taken its toll physically. And he appears to have decided to call it quits after a second major injury that seemed to drag on for an unusually long time.

The really unfortunate thing for fans and for the Colts is that we have only recently seen the very best of Luck on a consistent basis. Earlier in his career, the game plan seemed to be just step back, put everything on his shoulders and hope he could make some magic happen. While he did often come through on that ask, it didn’t exactly set him up for success, and overall his PFF grade reflected the magnitude of that ask. But over his last two healthy seasons, he has graded above 90.0, and the new offense of Frank Reich actually took some of the pressure off their star passer, scheming plays open, getting the ball out of his hands quicker and only asking him to make magic out of nothing when all else failed.

Luck's average time to throw dropped from a career average of 2.7 seconds to just 2.44 seconds in 2018. That’s moving from one of the slowest to one of the quickest marks in the NFL, finishing sixth-fastest last year, and that’s a big part of the reason the improved Colts line looked even better than it would have in years past.

The Colts had just started to put a team around Luck capable of doing big things, with vast improvements on the offensive line and significant weaponry being added to the passing attack.

In years past, the team didn’t really belong at the business end of the season but was always likely to be dragged there by Luck alone, but the 2019 version on paper looks like it belongs on a list of contenders. That Luck has elected to walk away now rather than see that improved roster bear fruit can only speak to the significance of his decision, and we collectively lament the exit of one of the game’s best quarterbacks in his prime.

PFF's Steve Palazzolo on Jacoby Brissett, the new starting quarterback in Indianapolis:

Brissett was the starter for the Colts for the majority of the 2017 season after joining the team just before the regular season. It was a tough spot learning a new system on the fly, and he finished with a 62.4 overall grade, good for 32nd in the league. It was an up and down season for Brissett, as he had four-game grades of 70.0-plus, showing more than capable of making key throws, but there were also four games in which he grades under 60.0.

Brissett’s one year as a starter showed a quarterback on the more conservative end of the spectrum, limiting turnover-worthy throws (ninth-best in NFL), but also not littering the league in big-time throws (36th out of 41 qualifiers), so look for the Colts to work the short and intermediate game with him this season. Last year saw the Colts shave about .3 seconds off Luck’s time in pocket from his career average, and Brissett could benefit from a similar, quick passing game as he averaged 2.97 seconds to throw in 2017, fifth-highest in the NFL and that contributed to his taking 52 sacks to lead the league.

[Editor's Note: To read more about Luck's career year in 2018, check out this PFF article naming him the 2018 PFF Comeback Player of the Year.]

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