The Jets no longer have to worry about facing Peyton Manning when the Colts come calling this weekend. Instead, they’ll be preparing for the NFL’s “next big thing.”
Andrew Luck, the consensus No. 1 pick in this past April’s draft, was called as polished a passer as Manning was when he was a rookie.
Through four games, Luck’s completion percentage is 54.2 percent, with seven touchdowns against five interceptions — numbers that put Jets fourth-year quarterback Mark Sanchez to shame.
“He’s a playmaker; he can do whatever he can do to keep the drive alive and capitalize. He just tries to be a complete quarterback and get positives from every play — shorten that third-down margin — so that when it’s 3rd-and-whenever, it isn’t 3rd-and-long,” safety LaRon Landry said. “He’s a great passer, but when he has to put it down and run, he can do that. It’s something you have to be aware of.”
Luck has 16 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown, a high number for a quarterback who wasn’t hyped before the draft for his running ability. Luck has rushed the ball more times than Jets Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow.
“When you’re doing a regular four-man rush or whatever, you have to be aware of the situation and make sure that you don’t let him get those opportunities to take the ball and tuck and get some yards with his running ability, because he can do that,” linebacker Bryan Thomas said. “It is really all about awareness when you play someone like him.”
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In 2010, Luck rushed for 453 yards, a record at Stanford for a quarterback. The Jets will have to be wary that when the rookie quarterback drops back into the pocket, he can do more than pass the ball down the field.
“We need to be sound in coverage, not just the secondary but the linebackers and defensive line. It has to be a complete effort for whatever they throw at us,” Landry said. “We can’t let them dictate a thing on offense; we have to be aggressive and limit those opportunities.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.