One of my favorite things to do is blindly compare statistics between players. Often it takes an idea we have in our heads and rids of us a stereotypical notion.
With that in mind, let's play a game of Quarterback A versus Quarterback B. Take a look at the table below of a sampling from four games each for two quarterbacks and tell me ... who ya got?
Hopefully you took Quarterback B. He's attempted more passes and completed a lower percentage, but other than that, there's little question who's better. Quarterback B is Andrew Luck so far this year. Quarterback A is Peyton Manning four games into his rookie season.
So, um, yeah, is Luck better than Manning? No, he's not. In fact, that's a stupid question. But is he more advanced than Manning was as a rookie? That doesn't seem like a dumb question at all.
Fortunately, someone asked Bruce Arians -- the Colts offensive coordinator-turned interim head coach who was also Manning's quarterbacks coach -- about it and Arians more or less confirmed that Luck is indeed further along in his development.
"We never tried a no-huddle against a team like the Packers that year. We just tried to get through," Arians told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network about Manning's rookie year. "We did a lot of check with me's, and gave him two or three options, but not at the line, rolling in a no-huddle situation until the second year [with Manning]. ... I remember [Manning's] first game up in New England, it was brutal. Just keep playing. [Luck] hasn't had one of those yet. [Will he?] I don't think so. I really don't. He could, this group that we're playing could do it to him in New York. We've been at home.
"We only had the one game in Chicago on the road where we did not play as well as we're capable, so it's going to be interesting to get back on the road and see how we play."
The other difference is wins. The Colts are 2-2 in 2012 and started 0-4 in Manning's rookie season. But maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that Luck's so developed as a rookie. We've seen that, in the case of most young signal callers these days, they're significantly more prepared for life as an NFL starter than guys were in 1998.
Additionally, let's not forget that Luck often attended the Manning Passing Academy. He learned from the very guy he ended up replacing, and it's showing with the way he's performed through the first four games of his NFL career.
None of these stats or accolades mean Luck will be better than Manning over the long haul (and Luck, as well as anyone, understands that). But it's still a pretty impressive start and further evidence that Luck's already stepped out of Manning's shadow in Indianapolis.
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