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Per Jason Cole, Andrew Luck ‘Expected to Play’; May Have to Change Style Long-term


According to Bleacher Report’s ‘Insider Buzz’ with Jason Cole, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is “expected to play” on Sunday according to a team source:

"“In talking to a source within the Indianapolis Colts organization, the Colts expect that Andrew Luck is going to be able to play on Sunday,” said Cole.“However, there are still major concerns, and that’s one of the reasons why the Colts signed backup quarterback Josh Johnson on Friday morning to make sure that in case Luck wakes up on Sunday and is not able to play, they’re able to make some kind of adjustment and have Matt Hasselbeck start and have an adequate reserve,” added Cole."

It’s been no secret that the Colts offensive line has continued to struggle throughout Luck’s tenure in pass protection, as he’s consistently been one of the most hit quarterbacks in the NFL:

Per Cole, this has led members of the Colts organization to question whether Luck will have to change his physical style of play long-term and learn to get the ball out quicker in order to avoid unnecessary physical contact:

"“One of the concerns however long-term is the aggressive play by Luck and how physically he plays and the beating he has taken because of the inadequate offensive line that the Colts have at this point in time,” said Cole. “That has led the Colts to believe that Luck has to make some major changes in the way he plays including not holding the ball as long and trying to make more out of plays,” added Cole. “Run less. Certainly stop tackling tackling people after an interception, which is a trademark move by Andrew Luck. And most of all, get rid of the ball quicker and don’t take as much punishment.”“So ultimately, the short-term is that Luck may be able to play this week,” concluded Cole. “Long-term is, he may have to change the way that he plays.”"

Sep 27, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) looks to pass during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. The Colts won 35-33. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a legitimate concern too. While the Colts offensive line has clearly struggled, Luck has at times this season exasperated the issue by holding onto the football too long and taking unnecessary hits by trying to do too much to make a play.

Still, part of Luck’s magic is his physical play and ‘never say die attitude’, so there’s a fine line in having him remove the elements of his game that also make him so very special.

To me, the easier solution would simply be to improve the Colts offensive line going forward first and foremost and let Luck play the game the way he’s always played it.

When asked whether he was still “supremely confident” that his star quarterback would play on Sunday, head coach Chuck Pagano hasn’t wavered in his stance:

"“Absolutely,” replied Pagano Friday."

Yet when questioned how Luck looked and perhaps practiced behind closed doors, Pagano was a bit more deflective in his answer:

"“He was limited,” responded Pagano. “You know I was a DB (defensive backs) coach my whole life, and I’ve thrown maybe 2 million throws during ball drills. Throwing to DB’s, and there were times where my shoulder got really tired and sore and my throws weren’t quite as crisp when that happened. But then when I got a little bit of rest and some time off, I’d come back and after a weekend game, and I was throwing BB’s. You know throwing it, spinning it.”"

However, when questioned then whether it was more of a rest than injury issue regarding Luck’s ailing shoulder, Pagano was cryptic with his answer:

"“He was limited,” reiterated Pagano."

Reading the tea leaves, it appears that Luck has a good chance of playing Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it appears to be far from a given and is clearly subject to change come gameday. Odds are he’ll be a gametime decision either way, leaving Colts fans crossing their fingers.

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