Though the Indianapolis Colts had planned to play quarterback Andrew Luck for a series or two in Saturday’s preseason opener, they reversed course earlier in the afternoon and decided not to have Luck dressed for the game.
Why? Owner Jim Irsay seemed to hint at the reasoning with a tweet yesterday afternoon: Rex Ryan.
.... Yes,there is some truth on this dark,rainy night; that my good friend Rex...has never heard of the word.... PRESEASON !!!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) August 13, 2016
Ryan, the Bills head coach who is known for his aggressive blitzing and for getting to the quarterback, was coaching against the Colts yesterday and Indianapolis apparantly didn’t want to send their starting quarterback out there on a wet field in a preseason game to face Ryan’s blitzes. That makes sense, but Irsay’s tweet hinting at it was unnecessary, and Ryan took exception to it.
"Take a look at the tapes, and see how many times we blitzed," Ryan said after the game last night in response to Irsay’s comments, according to ESPN. Ryan then stopped to consider his next words before adding, "I can tell you one thing, Chuck Pagano's a good friend of mine, a legitimate, good friend of mine. I have way more respect for him than I do others."
It’s not hard to tell that it was a shot at Jim Irsay, as Ryan didn’t particularly care for the comments from the Colts’ owner before the game. He mentioned his respect for the Colts’ head coach, but then contrasted it with the statement that he doesn’t have as much respect for others (meaning Jim Irsay). It’s easy to see both sides of it in this case: on the one hand, the Colts’ reasoning for sitting Luck in the game is perfectly understandable, but Jim Irsay didn’t need to tweet it out either.
For his part, Pagano took responsibility after the game for sitting Luck, saying it was a coach’s decision but declining to elaborate any more than that. So here’s the thing with Irsay’s tweet: it helped clarify why Luck was out, which Pagano didn’t do, but it probably would have been better to leave it up to Pagano to give a longer, more reasonable-sounding explanation post-game. Considering Pagano probably wouldn’t have done that anyway, however, perhaps the tweet was at the very least helpful in that regard, as it gave us an idea of why Luck was sitting out.