INDIANAPOLIS — Just when it seemed like everything that could be said about Andrew Luck had already been said, along came Richard Sherman to, well, pick off a new description of his former Stanford teammate.
“He’s an incredibly perspicacious guy,” Sherman said this week of Luck.
It was a somewhat joking response to Luck having called Sherman “vociferous” the day before.
Regardless, perspicacious — which means having a ready insight to and understanding of things — certainly fits Luck, who is already well on his way to fulfilling the vast expectations that greeted his selection as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft by the Colts.
The Colts, who will host the Seahawks on today at 10 a.m., were 2-14 in 2011, after which they decided not to take their chances with the seeming uncertain health of Peyton Manning, and instead hand over the reins to Luck.
As he did at Stanford, where he turned the Cardinal from a losing team into a BCS-caliber squad in two years, Luck was an overnight sensation, leading Indianapolis to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth in 2012.
And now, as the 4-0 Seahawks arrive in town, Luck and the Colts are one of the hotter teams in the league, 3-1 overall and coming off consecutive wins at San Francisco and Jacksonville by a combined 64-10.
None of it is a surprise to Sherman, or Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin, who each played with Luck at Stanford.
Baldwin this week reminded reporters that, in an interview before the 2012 NFL draft, he said of Luck, “I think he has the ability to be the best quarterback that’s ever played the game.”
Baldwin didn’t back down from that statement this week, saying that Luck has skills that are obvious to anyone — he’s 6 feet 4, 240 pounds and runs a sub-4.6 second 40-yard dash — as well as skills apparent only to those who share his huddle.
At Stanford, Baldwin said, the team would go into each huddle with three plays. Luck would then call the play to be run at the line of scrimmage “based on the coverage or what the front was, and he was excellent at it,” Baldwin said.
Luck has similar authority with the Colts.
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said Luck will often do what is called a “double cadence,” running through a fake set of signals first in an attempt to get a sense of what the defense is running, before then launching into the real signals and calling the play to ultimately be run.
“He’s trying to see if he can get a tell from the defense,” Thomas said.
It’s a tactic employed by all quarterbacks. But not all are as successful.
“The film don’t lie,” Thomas said. “He’s always trying to put his team in a winning position. He’s smart, very smart. We’ve definitely got to be on the little details, that’s evident.”
The Seahawks, of course, have their own quarterback in Russell Wilson for whom “perspicacious” also fits, one taken 74 spots after Luck in the same draft.
And as two members of what may go down as one of the greatest draft classes ever (which also includes Washington’s Robert Griffin III and Miami’s Ryan Tannehill), Luck and Russell Wilson are destined to always be linked to a degree.
“It’s a good sort of fraternity to be part of, if you will,” Luck said.
At the moment, Wilson and Luck may be its two most successful members.
Wilson is 15-5 in 20 regular-season starts, Luck 14-6. Wilson also has thrown for more touchdown passes (32 to 28) and has a higher quarterback rating (99.1 to 79.1) and rushing yards (620 to 381).
The two talked for a while last year at the Pro Bowl and formed something of a mutual-admiration society, Wilson said.
“He’s just so competitive,” Wilson said. “I think that’s something that we’re very, very similar in terms of that competitive nature, that leadership role. We don’t shy away from that.”
And ultimately, while the fan and media spotlight is likely to shine brightest on the quarterbacks in this game, there will be 20 other players out there, as Sherman reminded reporters this week,
“Quarterbacks don’t play by themselves,” he said. “We need to play tight coverage on their receivers and make it difficult for him to find people open. He still has to get the ball in there.”
Perspicaciously, if he can.^