In Indy, it's Luck and little else

Colts boast arguably the NFL's worst roster aside from star quarterback

Updated: August 1, 2014, 1:04 PM ET
By Rivers McCown | Football Outsiders

Andrew LuckTroy Taormina/USA TODAY SportsColts quarterback Andrew Luck had a 60.9 percent completion percentage last season.

The Indianapolis Colts are the favorites to win the AFC South and return to the playoffs for a third straight season under the guidance of quarterback Andrew Luck.

In comment boards across America, fans debate Luck's virtues as a franchise quarterback. Our statistics certainly aren't kind to him in that regard. Luck finished ninth in total QBR in 2013, and 11th in 2012. In the Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings -- which, unlike total QBR, don't account for Luck's history of strong play in late and close situations -- Luck has finished 19th and 16th among all qualifying quarterbacks during the past two seasons. (DVOA is Football Outsiders' defense-adjusted value over average metric, explained here.)

Luck's conventional statistics add even more fuel to the fire. Luck's completion percentage was 54.9 percent in his rookie year, and it climbed to just 60.9 percent last season. You know, about the same as Chad Henne.

But the tricky thing about statistics is that they are heavily dependent on context. Football statistics rely on the collective efforts of 11 players on each side of the ball. Andrew Luck's statistics may have "Andrew Luck" branded on them, but they're really something more like "Andrew Luck, throwing to T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener and fodder, selling the play-fake to a back who couldn't average three yards per carry in Indy, behind an offensive line that led the NFL in quarterback knockdowns allowed for the second straight season."

Luck's so-so advanced statistics are generated not by Andrew Luck, but from the total output of the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately for Luck, the Colts may have the weakest nonquarterback roster in the NFL right now.

Rivers McCown

Football Outsiders
Rivers McCown is an associate editor for Football Outsiders.