By DIEGO LOZANO III
NFL sophomore quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck broke all precedents during their 2012 rookie campaigns.
The trifecta of quarterbacks drove their respective franchises into post-season contention after each team failed to achieve a playoff berth in the previous season.
This go-round, however, the league will prime for the young studs by using an abundance of strategic game plans and football algorithms.
History has shown the difficulty of replicating the kind of success these athletes produced in their debut season.
The meet-and-greet is over for these raw talents, but which player is most likely to fall victim to the inevitable sophomore slump? I’ll pitch Luck for that one.
Luck, who attempted nearly as many passes as Griffin and Wilson combined last season, flashed signs of promise from start to finish.
The former No. 1 overall pick carried the Indianapolis Colts’ offense to an unforeseen 11-5 record by December’s end. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Credit Luck’s 4,374 yards of aerial assault for last season’s success. The team had a non-existent rushing attack and slightly above mediocre defense.
This is exactly where the line becomes drawn. Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks and Griffin’s Washington Redskins were each boosted by superior defenses and a dangerous rusher in the back field.
Washington’s Alfred Morris and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch both ran possessed last season. Each running back surpassed the century mark in yards rushing to provide their quarterback with a balanced arsenal of attack.
Griffin and Wilson perform with deadly efficiency, run or pass. The two quarterbacks accounted for fewer interceptions combined than Luck, in a game where turnovers profoundly sway momentum like a teeter-totter.
The option to construct custom plays for their huddle leaders benefits Washington and Seattle more than Indianapolis giving Luck its entire offensive playbook.
The unpredictability of gunning the ball downfield for a 20-yard completion or faking imposing defenders with the read option serves as a testament to the gifted athletic abilities these players bring to the gridiron.
Though the addition of ex-New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw should bolster Luck’s chances of ducking the second-year curse, he can’t play free safety or make in-game defensive adjustments for his teammates.
If history can prove anything, its name would be Cam Newton. He shrank in his sophomore stint after a record-shattering rookie term. Newton, the No. 1 draft pick in 2011, certainly fills the mold of what Luck could be in 2013.