With his NFL debut less than two weeks away, tonight’s preseason finale against Cincinnati will be the last chance for Luck and the Colts to fix any problems before the downs and games start counting.
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 end zone.
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 practices.
The next big test comes against the Bengals (No. 14), another blitz-happy team that will give Luck plenty of looks to contemplate.
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 act.
“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.”