A few days before his team’s Week 2 Monday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly gushed about Andrew Luck.
Kelly has a unique perspective on Luck because he coached against him in college when he was at Oregon and Luck was at Stanford. Luck has only been in the NFL for two years, but on Monday night Kelly will face him for the fourth time if you include college games (for what it’s worth, Kelly was 2-1 against him).
At his press conference on Thursday Kelly delivered a solid summation of what makes Luck so good.
His basic points: He’s unusually fast for his size, he’s smart, and he can make every throw.
It’s not like Kelly is going to rip Luck in a press conference four days before they play him. But there’s a level of specificity in Kelly’s praise of Luck that shows you just how good the NFL world thinks the Indianapolis QB is going to be.
Here’s Kelly on Luck:
“He’s 6’4, 235 pounds, he’s the smartest guy you’re going to go against, he can make every throw in the book and he also runs 4.65. So what separates Andrew from a lot of other great quarterbacks is he has the ability to extend plays, not only staying in the pocket, but he can hurt you running the football. I don’t know the number, but you can look it up. He had a lot of 50 plus runs in college, and that’s kind of a rare thing for any quarterback that size. Usually you get a smaller quarterback that can beat you with his feet and he’s really nimble and can do all these other things.
“When you look at him, the first thing that strikes you is how big he is in person, and he’s one of the most intelligent guys that we’ve faced and certainly that we’ll face in this league. He’s in that Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady [category] from a mental standpoint, he’s always on. That’s why in every game they have a shot. The comeback they had against the Chiefs when they’re down. Even last Sunday night when you fall asleep at 24-7 and say Broncos got a victory, then all of a sudden you’re finding out they’re onside kicking it and they have a shot at winning it.
“He can do it all. I think the more experience he gets, I think he has the most comebacks for a quarterback in the first two years in the league in the fourth quarter. I don’t think there is anything you can throw at him that is going to say he’s never seen it. So he really has the whole package. It will be a really big challenge for us this Monday night.”
Luck’s running ability is probably the most overlooked thing about him. He ran for 23 1st downs in 2013, which ranked 7th among quarterbacks. He was first on the team with 14 rushes of 10 yards or more — almost twice as many as running back Trent Richardson had. His 40-yard-dash time at the NFL Combine was 4.59 seconds, which is only slightly slower than Cam Newton and slightly faster than Johnny Manziel.
Combine that athleticism with all the traditional quarterback things he does well, and you have a guy who a lot of people think will be the best QB in the league one day.
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