Devin McCourty, Aqib Talib Impressed by Andrew Luck’s Toughness, Athleticism As Patriots Study Colts

Andrew LuckFOXBORO, Mass. — Don’t be surprised to hear about Andrew Luck‘s “deceptive” athleticism and speed over the next four days as the New England Patriots get set to take on the Indianapolis Colts.

Of course, Luck’s athleticism and speed should not be misleading at all. At 6-foot-4, 234 pounds, the Colts quarterback ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash, broad-jumped 10-foot-4, jumped 36 inches vertically, ran a 6.80-second three-cone drill and did the 20-yard shuttle in 4.28 seconds at the 2012 NFL combine. First-team All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash, broad-jumped 9-foot-11, jumped 36 1/2 inches vertically, ran a 7.28-second three-cone drill and did the 20-yard shuttle in 4.22 seconds at the same combine.

So, yeah, Luck’s athleticism should not be considered “deceptive” in any way since his workout numbers are, if anything, more impressive than those of one of the most athletic linebackers in the NFL. Luck has also run for 632 yards with nine touchdowns over his first two seasons with the Colts. He racked up 45 yards on seven carries on Saturday in Indianapolis’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Calling Luck deceptively athletic is a veiled way of saying that Luck does not look or throw like a typical mobile quarterback.

One thing that might be deceptive about Luck is his toughness, though. There’s something about the thickly built quarterback that seems indestructible in a way that most players at his position are not. No matter who hits him and how hard, the Stanford grad pops right back up.

“Yeah, I mean you can see times he gets hit, he got hit pretty hard, and it looks like he gets up and jokes with the guy that just hit him,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said Tuesday. “He’s a tough guy, mentally and physically, and like you said, he’s going out there and playing. He’s doing whatever he needs to do to win, and I think that jumps out when you see him as a competitor. Take away the quarterback and all that, it looks like he’s just a true competitor out there.”

During Indianapolis’ wild card-round win over the Chiefs, Luck took off scrambling during the Colts’ go-ahead drive. Facing second and 10, Luck took off up the middle, gained 5 yards and got sandwiched between Kansas City linebacker Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry, tumbling airborne to the Lucas Oil Stadium turf.

For 90 percent of the quarterbacks in the NFL, it not only would have looked like a stupid decision to go shoulder-first into two Pro Bowl defenders, but it would have been a scary sight to see a signal-caller get sent flying. Luck sat up, got peeled off the turf and flung an 11-yard pass to tight end Coby Fleener for the first down on the next snap.

It’s not a surprise that Luck has not missed a start since his freshman season at Stanford, nor that Colts quarterbacks not named “Andrew Luck” have taken a total of 25 snaps since he came into the league.

“You see him slinging guys off of him left and right, so you can tell how big he is, definitely,” Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib said.

Luck’s rushing ability should be just as scary to New England as his passing prowess. The Patriots’ defense has struggled to stop mobile quarterbacks this season, and it will be tough to rattle Luck, no matter how many sacks and quarterback hits New England is able to gather against the Indianapolis offensive line.

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