Luck looking to carve his own niche in Patriots-Colts rivalry

FOXBORO, Mass. — Andrew Luck is not trying to be the second coming of Peyton Manning with the Indianapolis Colts.

“I realize if I got caught up in trying to fill Peyton’s shoes, comparing myself to him every day, I’d probably go crazy because it feels unattainable,” Luck said. “So I try not to do it like that.”

The No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Luck has led the Colts to a surprising 6-3 record. He has spent the last several days talking about becoming part of the Indianapolis-New England rivalry, including a conference call with New England reporters Wednesday. He is doing all he can to distance himself from talk about how the quarterbacks, Manning and Tom Brady, have made the Patriots-Colts rivalry one of the best in the league.

“I definitely don’t deserve to be in that sentence or that breath,” the Stanford grad said. “Some day if I could play at a level that Peyton and Tom play at, that would be a quarterback’s dream come true.”

Until now, Luck has been like everyone else. He has enjoyed seeing Manning and Brady go at it so often.

“I think anybody who played quarterback had to sit down at least a couple times and try and learn something from when those two were going at it,” he said. Now, he becomes part of the show.

“Obviously as a football fan, you know about the New England Patriots. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to play against them,” Luck said. “We know it’s going to take our best shot to have a chance to win.”

Many of those who have seen Luck play feel he has the ability to one day be in the elite quarterback category. The 6-foot-4, 234-pounder is living up to expectations. He is the biggest reason Indy has gone from 2-14 last season to becoming a contender this year. He has thrown 10 touchdown passes, scored four times himself but had nine interceptions, all but two on the road. He wants more.

“To put it in perspective, I wouldn’t define this season (as) successful by any means,” Luck said. “We realize that we’ve put ourselves in the position to hopefully do some good things, but we haven’t gotten to our end goal yet.”

“I knew that every day was going to be a new learning experience — every game, every trip, every practice — was going to be a new learning experience. Some have gone well. Some has been sort of bumpy, if you will. But, I’m try to go get better every day and I think I’m continuing to improve,” he offered.

Bill Belichick spoke highly of Luck.

“Luck has done a good job for them,” Belichick said. “I think he’s gotten better each week. He does a real good job of avoiding the rush but also keeping his eyes downfield and not just pulling the ball down and trying to run or kind of panicking in the pocket, but he has a lot of poise.

“He can dodge those bullets and at the same time keep his eyes downfield and find open receivers when they uncover later in the pattern and hit them. He’s made a lot of those plays,” Belichick said.

Interim Colts head coach Bruce Arians, who left Pittsburgh and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to run the offense with the Colts, is not among those surprised by what Luck is doing.

“No. I thought that he would come in and do well. The rest of the rookies on offense have exceeded my expectations,” Arians said. “When we played the Dolphins, on the game-winning drive we had eight first-year players out there. So if you had told me that I’d say, ‘No way.’ I’d lose all my sleep. But all of the other rookies have followed the Pied Piper, and that’s Reggie Wayne. He sets the tempo for us offensively and then Andrew is the second guy in line. If he can handle it, then they can handle it and Reggie makes sure that the receiving corps and everybody else is ready to go.”

Arians brought his system from the Steelers with him.

“You try to put those guys in positions where they’re comfortable and match up the things that they like to do each week, without being too predictable,” he said. “It’s a proven system (and) Andrew has bought in hook, line and sinker. There are certain aspects of the game that he likes better than what Ben liked and then I’ll try to (say), ‘Hey, this works pretty good,’ and pull some tape out and show him the stuff that we like against different teams.

“It is fun. It’s fun because he’s a very talented, very humble guy and the sky’s the limit how good this guy is going to be. I hope and pray he can do the things that Ben did and win as many games and Super Bowls that he did,” Arians said.

(Contact Paul Kenyon at [email protected])

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

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