From the moment Andrew Luck first injured his shoulder, the Indianapolis Colts have tried to put on a positive face.
But the reality is that here we are, in the middle of May, and Luck still isn’t throwing the football.
Remarkably, Colts general manager Chris Ballard says he’s not worried about the previously stated timeline that would have his franchise quarterback ready to go for training camp.
“(The) timeline’s good,” Ballard told NBC Sports. “You know, he’s actually not even throwing a football. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do. He’s got a program specifically laid out that puts his timeline to be back at training camp. He didn’t want to skip a step. I don’t know if he skipped a step last year, but I think he felt the pressure of coming back.
In the meantime, Luck does look fit, but this is the extent of his football activities.
— Chase (@padge_20) May 9, 2018
When he’s not rehabbing, Luck seems to be making new friends.
— Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (@RLLracing) May 12, 2018
So he’s in shape and the neck beard looks good, but the simple fact remains that the last pass Luck completed was on New Year’s Day 2017 in a game against Jacksonville.
Luck’s impact is undeniable; in his first three seasons after being selected first overall in the 2012 NFL draft, the Colts went 11-5.
Indianapolis was 8-8 the next two years and then, without Luck taking a snap, finished 4-12 in 2017.
That the team has always been (overly?) optimistic about its quarterback — owner Jim Irsay declared in March 2017 that Luck would be “completely healed for the season and he’s going to have a great season” — makes fans question what’s real and what’s spin.
“I get it. And I don’t blame the people for asking the questions,” Ballard said. “That’s why I don’t mind answering it. I mean, it was unfortunate last year. I mean, that was a blow to us. There was never a point that we didn’t expect him back. I think maybe that was being a little too optimistic in our eyes, but we expected him back. I get the questioning. Until Andrew steps off Week 1 and walks out of that tunnel and starts playing again, we’re still going to answer questions. There’s still going to be doubt. And I get that. That’s why I don’t mind standing up there answering the questions. I don’t mind and I get where the doubt comes from.”
Once last season wrapped up, the team fired Chuck Pagano as head coach and hired Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels — who backed out of the job the day before his introductory news conference.
Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich ended up with the job, but it’s reasonable to ask whether Luck’s health played a role in McDaniels’ change of heart.
The Colts acquired Jacoby Brissett from New England at the start of last season, and the second-year quarterback showed some promise, throwing 13 touchdown passes with just seven interceptions.
In April’s NFL draft, Indianapolis chose Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson with the sixth overall pick and added Auburn guard Braden Smith at No. 37.
So after all these years, the team is bulking up its line. Now the question is, who will they blocking for?
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.