Indianapolis’ Luck gets 1 more chance to tune up
Andrew Luck still wants all those seemingly meaningless
With his NFL debut less than two weeks away, Thursday night’s
preseason finale against Cincinnati will be the final chance for
Luck and the Colts to fix any problems before the downs and games
It’s an opportunity the No. 1 overall draft pick promises won’t
be thrown away.
”Any experience is incredibly helpful for me right now, just to
be out there and with a lack of really any NFL experience, I have
to take advantage of some game experience,” Luck said Tuesday.
”We would like to put a touchdown on the board, a couple
touchdowns or however many drives we’re out there.”
The goal is to show that last week’s 30-17 loss at Washington
was the anomaly, not the norm.
In his toughest week as a pro, Indy’s new franchise quarterback
went 14 of 23 for 151 yards with one touchdown and no
interceptions, but he took plenty of hits, saw key penalties stall
drives and struggled to get the Colts (No. 32 in AP Pro32) into the
But throughout training camp and the preseason, Luck has
demonstrated an uncanny resilience. During two-a-days at Anderson
University, Luck’s best performances often came after his worst
And after throwing two interceptions in a preseason loss at
Pittsburgh, Luck led the Colts on touchdown drives both times and
rallied the team from a 14-0 deficit to a 17-14 halftime lead.
The next big test comes against the Bengals (No. 14), another
blitz-happy team that will give Luck plenty of looks to
Coach Chuck Pagano said he hasn’t yet decided how much Luck and
the starters will play as he tries to sort out a delicate balancing
”You’re always worried about trying to get out of this thing as
healthy as possible but at the same time, all of those guys still
need the work,” Pagano said. ”We (the coaches) will sit down and
meet on that tomorrow and make a decision on just how much we want
to play those guys.”
More playing time is imperative for the new-look Colts and
particularly for Luck.
In three weeks at training camp, Luck threw 447 passes in team
drills. He’s thrown another 64 passes in the first three preseason
games, and there’s no real concern about his right arm wearing out.
If it was Luck’s choice, he’d just keep throwing the ball.
”I’m happy with the volume that coach (Bruce) Arians and coach
Pagano have given me. It’s been very helpful,” he said. ”I still
feel very fresh, excited to go for this last preseason game and
then the opener in Chicago.”
There are still kinks to be worked out on the offense,
”It’s tough to be a good offense if you’re committing
penalties, if you’re taking sacks, if you’re putting yourself
behind the 8-ball on a drive,” Luck said. ”If we can stay ahead
of the curve in that department, I think we’ll be all right.”
It’s not just Luck trying to get in sync with his receivers,
running backs or offensive linemen.
The Colts also have overhauled the defense with plenty of new
faces as they make the switch from a 4-3 defense to Pagano’s
preferred 3-4 hybrid, and injuries have created additional
Starting inside linebacker Pat Angerer is expected to miss
another four to six weeks after having surgery to repair a
fractured right foot. Defensive end Cory Redding may miss his third
preseason game, his second with a strained knee.
Converted linebacker Robert Mathis may sit out his second
straight game with a shoulder injury, and Pagano is even trying to
figure out how to give some players an extra break in the midst of
a span that the Colts will play three games in 15 days.
”It has been a challenge on everybody, not only on the players
but the coaches,” Pagano said. ”We’ve had to scramble to try and
keep this team as healthy as possible and give them an opportunity,
from a game plan standpoint, to go out and be successful.”
He’s still not sure whether newly-acquired cornerback Vontae
Davis will play.
Indy traded two draft picks, including a second-rounder, to
Miami on Sunday to get Davis. After making his first locker room
appearance Monday, Davis stayed late Monday night to learn the
playbook – a stark contrast from the player Dolphins coaches
criticized for his work ethic.
”We just threw him out there in the last two days. Looking at
the tape, I don’t see a whole lot of mistakes going on. We’re kind
of, from a call standpoint, taking it easy on him. But we’ve thrown
enough at him to where he’s responded,” Pagano said. ”He was the
last guy out of the building yesterday. … He’s putting the time
in and he’s bound and determined to make this thing work.”
But the Colts know the key to this season will be Luck’s
”We’ll learn as this season goes along and I’m sure you’ve got
14-year NFL quarterback veterans that are still learning as their
season goes on,” Luck said. ”I think we’ll all try and be sponges
and soak up everything that is said, whether it was Day 1 of OTAs,
minicamps, or the last preseason game.”
Notes: The Colts claimed receiver Kashif Moore off waivers from
the Bengals and placed another receiver, Jarred Fayson, on the
waived-injured list after he hurt his knee Monday. If Fayson goes
unclaimed, he will be added to Indy’s injured reserve list. …
Pagano said offensive lineman Joe Reitz missed Tuesday’s practice
after getting kicked in the knee Monday.