When facing criticism from the media, most athletes dismiss it unless it comes from a former player that “understands the game.” So what happens if it is coming from a former Super Bowl MVP and two time pro bowl quarterback? That is just what happened when former New York Giant quarterback and current CBS broadcaster Phil Simms was asked about the apparent savior of whichever team is able to “suck for Luck” the best.
“There’s a lot to him. I think his best quality, by far, is he’s big and strong and he’s going to be able to move and run in the NFL. There’s no question. I mean, this guy is strong. The throwing? He manages a game. I see all that.
But the one thing I don’t see, I just don’t see big time NFL throws. I don’t care what anybody says. I’ve watched a lot of him. He never takes it and rips it in there. And you can say what you want but, man, you’ve got to be able to crease that ball every once in a while. We see it every week in these games. Hey, he can develop it but even in the USC game, you know, he’s very careful with it, guides it a lot, Rich. That’s what I see. There’s not a lot of rotation on the ball and there’s not a tremendous amount of power. Not that you need to have that power arm. I’m not saying you’ve got to have that exclusively but, man, it sure helps when you can do that because there’s four or five plays a game it is about arm strength. And sometimes quarterbacks who don’t have it, they pass those plays up. Why? Well, they go, ‘I don’t know if I can make that throw,’ so they throw it short. That’s why I’m a little more reserved in my judgment than everybody else.”
Simms is not denying that Luck has the physical body of a prototype franchise quarterback, but he even slightly throws in the backhanded compliment of calling him a “game manager.” He claims he has not seen Luck making the big time NFL throws, but my question to Mr. Simms is have you seen Andrew Luck with NFL talent at the skill positions? I imagine that Luck will look a little different next season if he is zipping passes to Brandon Marshall or Reggie Wayne.
I understand to an extent where Simms is coming from, however. The coverage that Luck has been given this season is unprecedented in the NFL. It is almost at the level of LeBron James coming out of high school. I said almost. At this point Luck is going to have to win at least one ring and be an elite quarterback for a franchise for at least ten years to justify this attention. Most every expert thinks that Luck has those tools, but not Simms.
I wonder what Andrew Luck’s dad has to say about the criticism. We know how Phil himself would handle it. Just ask Desmond Howard what happened when he made a comment about Simms’ son, Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Matt.