Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck missed all of 2017 with an injury. It was so severe that some speculated he would never throw a football again.
However, Luck returned in 2018 and promptly turned Indianapolis back into a winner. After going 4-12 the previous season without him, Luck led the Colts to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth last year.
Luck didn’t just do it on the backs of his teammates — he led the charge. The quarterback threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns while completing a career-high 67.3% of his passes.
That’s immediately thrust him right back into the conversation of “best quarterbacks in the NFL.” With that being said, there is still a lot for him to prove.
Here are three questions Andrew Luck must answer for the Indianapolis Colts in 2019.
Can He Stay Healthy?
This criticism of Andrew Luck is one I never felt was completely fair. He missed all of 2017 with an injury and missed the last game of the 2016 season (due to the same injury). He also played in just seven games in 2015.
In every other season (2012, 13, 14 and 18), he played in all 16 games. Injury-prone doesn’t really seem that fair, but he has the label stuck on him.
Maybe Luck can shed that label for good with another healthy 2019 campaign. If he can play all 16 games again, it would be hard for anyone to label him that way anymore.
Most importantly, the Colts would need to make the playoffs. They’ve done a good job of building better components around their quarterback. However, he’s still the engine of the team. Without Luck at quarterback, they won’t win all that many games.
Can He Limit the Turnovers?
Here’s something Andrew Luck hasn’t been all that great at in his career. The quarterback has never limited his turnovers. In his defense, he throws the ball often; he is bound to rack up the INTs.
Last season, Luck threw 39 touchdowns, which was awesome. However, he also had 15 interceptions. That was just one off the league leader (Ben Roethlisberger had 16), basically one per game.
The Colts won at a solid clip last year despite the turnovers. Could they have won more if he limited them? Two particular games stand out (in back-to-back weeks). Indianapolis lost to the New England Patriots in Week 5 by 14 and the New York Jets in Week 6 by eight. Luck threw two interceptions against the Patriots and three against the Jets. A better performance might have changed the outcome of one of those two games, if not both.
There was also a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in which the Colts lost 6-0 with Luck throwing an INT. I’ll give him a pass there; it was just one, and the entire team could get nothing going against Jacksonville in that game.
Can He Maintain the Completion Percentage?
Heading into last season, Andrew Luck wasn’t the most accurate quarterback in the league by a longshot. He completed under 60% of his passes to that point in his career (59.2% to be exact).
Last season produced a major step forward. In 2016 he completed a career-best 63.5%. Obviously he didn’t play in 2017, but then he returned last year and bested that mark by completing 67.3% of his passes.
You could argue he was throwing fewer deep balls, but Luck wasn’t Captain Checkdown last year, either. It’s clear he had returned with a more precise arm and possibly better decision making.
Was this just a fluke, or is this a positive trend in Andrew Luck’s career? Keeping his completion percentage above 65 each season could mean we will see the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs a lot.