The Indianapolis Colts were originally scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame game, but it got cancelled and they instead made their preseason debut the following week. Likewise, Andrew Luck was originally scheduled to play in the game against the Buffalo Bills last week, but things changed and he will make his debut this week against the Ravens... right?
That’s currently the plan, as the Colts are preparing for their starting quarterback to see some action. It’s all in an attempt to get Luck as ready for the regular season as possible, and the Colts have an idea of what that entails.
“We just look at what we’ve done in the past and what we feel like he needs in order to start the season the way that we need to start it,” head coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday. “We have a number in mind. Usually, by this time, you would like to play a half of football within the third or fourth preseason [game]. It’s now going to be the third preseason game, you would love to play a half and have the starters come out and open the third quarter. The way the Hall of Fame Game went and then this last one, we will kind of just see how that goes. We will have a number set and how the game plays out and how successful we are. You go out and you have two or three scoring drives, you are able to go down and score a touchdown or kick a field and get some significant work in, then we will make a decision. We certainly have a number and if we feel like we can go over we will go over.”
Pagano didn’t disclose what that number is for this Saturday in terms of how many snaps Luck will play, but they have a plan for how much they want to play him for the entire preseason. Since Luck didn’t play in the first game and since he won’t play in the last game (starters never do), that leaves just the second and third games (both of which are at home) for Luck to play. It also means that he could see significant work in both games, so we could perhaps see a couple of drives from the Colts’ quarterback this weekend against the Ravens.
Luck, who hasn’t appeared in a game since last November, said on Tuesday that he’s looking forward to getting back on the playing field.
“It will be important,” Luck said. “It’s another step. In any season’s journey, regardless of what happened the previous year, it will be good to step on the field and run some plays with the guys.”
One thing that will be important in the preseason for Luck and the rest of the starters? Learning how to work with each other and the new coaching staff.
“You need to see them and what the mood/personality of Shotty [Brian Schottenheimer] is on game day,” Luck said. “How does he operate? How does Coach [Joe] Philbin operate, how do the new guys operate and how do the new guys on the team operate and handle certain situations? Again, there are definitely many things to learn from the preseason games.”
On Saturday, that learning will take a big step forward as Andrew Luck returns to the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time in nine months - at least, that’s currently the plan.