Colts fans can’t remember an offseason with this much importance.
The Indianapolis Colts were named one of the league’s six most improved teams of 2018 by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell- not surprising after the last couple of seasons the Colts have had. Quarterback Andrew Luck has returned after two long awaited years on injury reserve and has been practicing with the team in training camp.
Head coach Frank Reich told Sports Illustrated,“Some of the progressions we’ve worked through, his command of the offense, to me those are things you watch. After one day of watching him in the huddle I was like, ‘O.K., we’re good, we’re gonna be alright.’ ”
Luck’s progression has been the hot topic of NFL news for some time now, especially considering he hasn’t thrown a pass in a regular-season game in 19 months. Many people have speculated that Luck won’t return at all, and if he does the results will be underwhelming. Though it can be tough to imagine Luck back in the NFL after an almost two year absence, I wouldn’t sleep on the Colts quite yet.
Luck entered the NFL with heavy expectations and it seems that this season’s return has left more question marks than when he was a rookie. Many are wondering how much Luck will play in the 2019 season, if at all. Hopes are high and the Indianapolis franchise stands behind Luck and his ability.
“I absolutely think he’s going to go beyond anything he’s done,” Reich said. “He’s got that elite athletic ability, but his game is not just built on that. He’s got an elite mind, along with elite athleticism. That’s a very good foundation for a very long and good career.”
There’s no denying that Luck’s injury took a toll on his career. After a shoulder sprain in 2015, a lacerated kidney and multiple muscle pulls in his abdomen, a frayed labrum in 2016 and shoulder surgery in 2017, it’s no wonder people are jinxing his career by saying he’s done for good.
What a lot of people fail to consider is Luck’s mental state versus his physical state. Luck was pursued so heavily by the Colts because of his incredible football IQ that visibly sets him apart from his competitors.
Since 2011, the Colts have gone 42-27 with Luck at the helm of the team. Without him, the Colts have gone 12-30. He knows his role on the team, he knows the game inside and out, and he certainly knows what his team’s fate is without him.
New offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni told the media on Thursday, “That’s what’s amazing about him because mentally he’s unbelievable. So mentally, it’s like he never missed a beat.”
Luck’s improvement on the field only ups the ante for the rest of the team. “You can see why he was the player that he was at Stanford, the No. 1 pick coming out and the player he’s been in the NFL because it doesn’t look like this everywhere,” Sirianni said. “There’s not a lot of teams that can come out and practice and be like, ‘Man, we are just better because he’s on the field.’”
There’s no denying that Andrew Luck is a phenomenal quarterback with incredible intelligence and has proven his capability of taking a team that’s rough around the edges and making them great again. He has a strong command of his offense and has been making great strides in training camp.
Colts fans, however, know that the real battle lies beyond training camp.
Talk Colts with Ana on Twitter // @ana_krauski