There’s a small minority of league insiders who believe that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck isn’t the franchise savior that most are making him out to be. Former NFL quarterback and current CBS/Showtime analyst Phil Simms appears to be a member of said minority.
“I think the hype is a little too much,” Simms told Adam Schein and Rich Gannon of SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. “I feel bad for him in that respect. I mean, what’s he going to do to match what they say he can do?
“There’s a lot to him. I think his best quality, by far, is he’s big and strong and he’s going to be able to move and run in the NFL. There’s no question. I mean, this guy is strong. The throwing? He manages a game. I see all that.
“But the one thing I don’t see, I just don’t see big time NFL throws. I don’t care what anybody says. I’ve watched a lot of him. He never takes it and rips it in there. And you can say what you want but, man, you’ve got to be able to crease that ball every once in a while. We see it every week in these games. Hey, he can develop it but even in the USC game, you know, he’s very careful with it, guides it a lot, Rich. That’s what I see. There’s not a lot of rotation on the ball and there’s not a tremendous amount of power. Not that you need to have that power arm. I’m not saying you’ve got to have that exclusively but, man, it sure helps when you can do that because there’s four or five plays a game it is about arm strength. And sometimes quarterbacks who don’t have it, they pass those plays up. Why? Well, they go, ‘I don’t know if I can make that throw,’ so they throw it short. That’s why I’m a little more reserved in my judgment than everybody else.”
Even though Simms recently has seemed to be intent on projecting contrarian opinions (even when those opinions stray into the realm of the goofy), he possibly is onto something here. The truth lies in the “all-22” film, which will show whether Luck has downfield opportunities when opting to throw short. And the folks who are paid to assess college players will study that film. If Simms is onto something, the tape will bear it out.
Still, the expectations remain way too high for Luck, and there’s a chance he’s being set up to fail. Given that he’s being viewed as the greatest prospect since Peyton Manning or John Elway, anything less than a bronze bust and a right hand riddled with rings will be viewed as an F.