Clyde Christensen thinks Andrew Luck is ‘in a great place’
After spending 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts as quarterback coach, Clyde Christensen is leaving for a promotion with the Dolphins and isn’t worried about Andrew Luck.
As Clyde Christensen leaves Indianapolis to take over as offensive coordinator in Miami, he had some encouraging words about Andrew Luck and reminisced about his time with the Colts. Christensen said he felt it was the right time to leave the Colts, despite thinking he would finish his career in Indianapolis. He singled out Luck by saying “he is in a great place,” clearly not worried about the talented quarterbacks future development.
Christensen spoke with Stephen Holder at the Indy Star and opened up on how he kept Luck engaged during this injury plagued year.
"Sitting out allowed Luck, Christensen said, to see the game from a different perspective. And to ensure that Luck made good use of his down time, Christensen assigned Luck a number of thought-provoking “projects” aimed at aiding his development. Most involved studying certain opponents on film or various types of defenses.“We made a point to emphasize that this would not be a wasted year,” Christensen said. “I look at it like this was the last year of undergrad work for him. He’d experienced everything but a physical injury. So, this was an important year. Anyone who thinks this year didn’t help him just doesn’t understand. He learned so much. One of Peyton’s key years was the year he was hurt. He grew as a husband and a family man and teammate. This year will propel Andrew.”“(The offense) has to become yours,” Christensen said. “It’s not just about what the play caller calls. When you really understand all that, that’s the mark of a great player.”"
2016 is going to be a crucial year for Luck. If he doesn’t work out a new deal during this offseason, he’ll be entering a contract year. That said, Luck holds all the cards and can basically name his price with the Colts. The contract really won’t be a distraction as the Colts don’t have anywhere else to turn and Luck still has the potential to be a top tier QB.
More from Horseshoe Heroes
- Colts explored hiring former quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky
- When is the NFL Combine 2023? NFL Combine schedule, events, how to stream
- Latest NFL mock draft has Colts trading up to No. 1 for star QB
- Eagles offensive free agents that could follow Shane Steichen to Colts
- Here’s why Colts linebacker Shaq Leonard is going to love Shane Steichen
Luck’s development going forward is the real issue. Some have questioned what the ceiling and floor is for him, but you don’t accidentally throw 40 touchdowns in your third season and break records in your first four years in the NFL (some which were set by Peyton Manning).
We can basically copy and paste what we said Luck needed to work on from last season: getting the ball out quicker and avoiding hits. Both are traits he has direct control over. Luck’s ability to run and extend plays should be embraced by the team, but he has to know when to take a dive and learn how to slide.
The Colts definitely need to improve their offensive line, but at the same time Luck can help them out by getting the ball out of the pocket more quickly. Quite frankly, the Colts have far too many weapons for Luck to be holding onto the ball for more than two seconds. The least hit and sacked QBs every year are the one who get rid of the ball the fastest. The Colts had a terrible offensive line back in 2010, but Manning was the least sacked QB in the league.
Another area Luck can improve on is his pre-snap reads. Colts fans would love to see the Manning no-huddle system with Luck, but he isn’t there yet (and the coaches don’t seem to want to give him that level of control yet either). Luck has to do a better job identifying the defensive play, make adjustments (especially with the protection), and finding the mismatch.
These are all things that are the responsibility of Brian Schottenheimer now. And while it is a very good thing that Schottenheimer isn’t calling plays, we have no idea what being a QB coach will translate to. Most of the work Luck has to do is on his shoulders.
Looking back at 2015 Luck struggled mightily, but how much of that was due to injuries? With all the whispers about his status this season, it really doesn’t sound like there was a single game where Luck was 100-percent healthy.
2016 feels like it will be a reboot of the season 2015 was supposed to be. Hopefully that involves an Andrew Luck more aware of how to protect himself and stay on the field.