When Colts head coach Chuck Pagano met with the media yesterday, he talked about what a tough test the Eagles' up-temp offense will provide for his defense. When Eagles head coach Chip Kelly had a conference call with Indy media yesterday, he also talked about the test his defense was facing - namely, quarterback Andrew Luck.
Asked what he thought of Luck when Kelly faced him in college as Oregon's head coach compared to what he thinks now, Kelly said that, "It's a lot of the same. I thought he was the premiere quarterback in college when we faced him. He has the entire package. He has size. There's not many guys that are 6-4, 235. He can make every throw. He's as intelligent a quarterback as there is in the league, and I really think the added dimension that separates Andrew from everybody else is his ability to run. He ran a 4.65 at the Combine. If everybody is covered and you make him go through his progression, he can really hurt you with his feet and keep things extended. He's got it all."
Make no mistake, though: while some people will call Andrew Luck's speed and running ability underrated or deceiving, Kelly doesn't. "Not to me, we knew in college he could run," Kelly said. "He had some huge runs that just killed people in college, 50-plus yarders for touchdowns and big, physical, tough, hard-nosed runs. He was outstanding at the collegiate level in terms of being able to run the football. I think that's the one thing people, not missed at, maybe they think it's underrated, but we're very well aware of it."
Of course, as already mentioned, Kelly's Oregon Ducks faced Luck's Stanford Cardinal three times in college, with Kelly coming out on top by winning two of them. That wasn't because his teams stopped Luck though, Kelly said. "We won twice but they were both shootouts," the Eagles coach said. "They scored 30-plus points, and the two games we won we scored 50 and they scored 30. That doesn't mean, we didn't shut Andrew (Luck) down, we were more productive on the offensive side of the ball in those games. I think the other game when Andrew was a sophomore they beat us and it was like a 51-45 game or something close to that. So we just outscored them. The three times we played Andrew we were 2-1, we outscored them in the two games and didn't score enough points in the other game. We didn't do anything to slow him down, I can tell you that."
And as if that wasn't enough Andrew Luck praise for you, Kelly was asked what he saw from the Colts versus Broncos tape from last week. His answer? "Impressive. I think when you have Andrew (Luck), you're never out of a game. They proved that in the playoff game against the Chiefs a year ago. I think I saw the stat, he has the most fourth quarter comebacks in the first two years in the league of any quarterback. I think there's a confidence in that team." Kelly also praised head coach Chuck Pagano, but his praise was most evident and emphatic of Luck.
There's good reason for the praise, too, but this is an NFL head coach saying it - and one who's a offensive-minded genius, at that. The Colts are concerned about the Eagles' up-tempo offense, but the Eagles are concerned about Andrew Luck, who Chip Kelly knows can be one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league.