Kubiak on Luck: Best rookie since Peyton
As Andrew Luck prepares to make his Houston homecoming, the Texans have started comparing him to another highly successful quarterback in the NFL: Ben Roethlisberger.
While Luck has been a really good passer in the pocket this year – he’s on pace to top Cam Newton’s rookie passing record – what makes Luck so effective is his ability to break away from pressure, extend plays and sometimes even take off downfield.
“He makes a lot of plays off-time and he’s tough to bring down,” nose tackle Shaun Cody said. “I think that’s why you compare him to Ben Roethlisberger. He can move around. The guy can run a little bit so it’s definitely a challenge for us. We’ve had some quarterbacks that can run around get some yards on us so it’s definitely a good challenge for us.”
Luck has passed for 3,792 yards so far this season and should easily break the rookie record with three games left, but he’s also had 223 yards on the ground. No, he doesn’t run a lot, but when he needs to, he takes off.
“Yeah, I mean they were 12 points behind Detroit with four minutes left in the game,” Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. “And it wasn’t all passing, it was him scrambling and making plays. He won the game at the end for them throwing the ball. He can make plays with his feet or throwing the football. That’s a problem.”
Roethlisberger is 6-foot-5, 240. Luck is 6-4, 235. So, Luck is slightly undersized compared to Big Ben, but he’s not that much smaller and he’s actually more willing to take off and run. Luck has 223 yards on the ground through 13 games, that’s more than Roethlisberger has had in any of his nine seasons.
And Roethlisberger has thrown for 4,000 yards only twice in his career. Luck is poised to do it in his first NFL season.
“Yeah, he’s not quite as big, well I haven’t played him yet,” linebacker Connor Barwin said. “I don’t think he’s quite as big as Roethlisberger. But that’s kind of what people say, the same kind of deal. He’s a big, solid kid, faster than you think. And like I said, he can get outside the pocket and make plays off schedule.”
While Luck has shown signs of elusiveness, he’s not quite Roethlisberger. Big Ben is second the NFL in completion percentage when under pressure with 57.8 percent. Luck is 20th in the league at 41.7 percent.
“Obviously, first he has a good arm,” J.J. Watt said. “He’s a good passer, but he also can do things with his feet that many wouldn’t expect. He’s a fast guy. He’s elusive. He can get out of the pocket. He can get away from tackles, so you have to be weary of where he is at all times. You got to make sure you keep him in there.”