Colts' Luck First Rookie QB Miami Will Face

Posted Nov 2, 2012

Less film to break down for defense than in previous games.

Seven weeks into the 2012 NFL season the Miami Dolphins never faced a rookie quarterback, but this Sunday they will be facing the one at the top of the class – Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.

Unlike when they were preparing for Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets last week or any of the other veterans, the Dolphins can’t also look back at last season to try to exploit any of Luck’s tendencies. All they have to go by are the seven games he has started since replacing Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.

“He’s obviously playing well and he’s doing something right,” said Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, who has 7.5 sacks on the season. “They’re the 8th-ranked offense and they’re moving the ball. They’re playbook is not massive but the things they do they do well and as a defense you don’t want to put too much emphasis no one thing and leave yourself vulnerable in another area. … He leads the league in scrambles for first downs and if you were to look at him on paper before seeing those stats you’d think he’s just a pocket guy. But that’s always a big key for mobile quarterback is rush lanes and you can’t leave any holes wide open because those runs stack up.”

Defensive end Jared Odrick wouldn’t rule out picking the brain of rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin, who was Luck’s left tackle in college at Stanford University. What he has seen on film so far is that Luck is making plays with his feet and his arm so he agrees with Wake when it comes to being conscious of how they rush the quarterback while still getting pressure on him.

As for Miami’s secondary, they have to be aware of Luck’s arm strength and his accuracy, which is something they get to see each day in practice from their own rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. They are the same height (6-foot-4), but at 234 pounds Luck is a little thicker than the 222-pound Tannehill.

“He’s a guy who can make all the throws and he’s very calm and collected out there,” cornerback Sean Smith said. “He doesn’t really panic when pressure comes and he’ll spin out and roll out and make a beautiful throw. He’s somebody we definitely can’t treat as a rookie so we definitely have to prepare for that and make sure we’re trying to disrupt him anyway we can.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin put into perspective just how daunting a task it will be for Miami on the road trying to slow Luck down.

“He’s playing well. He’s a very competitive guy. He has good awareness for a rookie,” he said. “He’s tough to keep in the pocket. He runs with the ball very well for a big guy. I think he has 11 first down scrambles if I’m not mistaken or touchdowns. He’s throwing the ball. He’s got the arm that we all thought we did. He’s a good player. He’s really good. It’s going to be a great challenge for our defense.”

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