One of the greatest things Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been able to do in his first two years in the league has been make plays on his own. When the protection breaks down (and for the Colts it often does), Luck can break tackles, move around and buy time, and he has also shown that he can take off and run.
In two years in the league, Luck has run for 632 yards and 9 touchdowns while averaging over 5 yards per carry in the regular season. He's not going to abandon the play and take off right when things break down, but he's also not afraid to take to the ground to get first downs, often in crucial situations.
He did this again on Saturday night against the Saints. Luck rushed 2 times for 22 yards in his work against the Saints, and during the drive at the end of the first half as he was leading the Colts down the field, Luck again used his feet to get a first down. To end the play, he attempted to slide. And, just like it has the past two years, his slide looked terrible. Luck dove forward and kind of just crumpled to the ground, where typical quarterback slides go feet first.
Colts head Chuck Pagano has talked about Luck's sliding before, and he was asked again about it on Monday - specifically how much the coaching staff can do about it. "We've ordered the slip n' slide, it's not here yet," Pagano joked. "We've got plenty of water if you've been watching all the ice bucket challenges, so water's not an issue. The slip n' slide's not here yet."
"All joking aside, some guys are really good at it and some aren't. As long as he gets down in time, gets out of bounds, doesn't take any unnecessary hits, that's all I'm concerned about."
Pagano also talked about the NFL rules and about whether him going down head first means that the play is still "live" (because a feet-first slide means the play is over).
"You open yourself up to be hit, like a runner going head first, going down. But having said that, if a defender chooses to take a shot with the helmet, with the shoulder pad, as he's going down, I would say 99.9 percent of the time that guy's going to get called for a personal foul. If I'm coaching our guys and I see a quarterback do that, it depends on where he's at but we're not going to, we understand the intent, so for me it's not worth the fine, it ain't worth the foul, it ain't worth the 15 yards. But technically, letter of law, he's not giving himself up. So if he goes down and he's not touched down, and he fumbles, it happened to RGIII (Robert Griffin III) last year. He went forward, hit the ground, the ball came loose. He wasn't down by contact because he was forward, he went forward so that's a fumble, so the opponent picked it up and recovered it and ran it back, so that's another reason. If you give yourself up legs first, once you give yourself up, if the ball comes out, the play's over."
We'd love to see Andrew Luck slide the right away, and I know that Chuck Pagano would as well. But realize that while we're talking (and joking) about this, there's much worse things that could happen. Such as guys like Robert Griffin III too often not sliding at all. When we're talking like this about Luck's slide, you know he's doing a lot of things right.