Many of us never thought that seeing a 10-yard pass would excite us so much, but that proved to be the case this afternoon as Andrew Luck made his first public throws of a football. As it turns out, it wasn’t a regulation football, but when Luck met with the media after practice, he had a chance to talk to them and the exchange proved to be more open and honest than any I can remember with him.
One thing he revealed was that he has been throwing “The Duke,” a regulation football for about 2-3 weeks. He talked about meeting Coach Reich and throwing when no one was at the facility, and swearing him to secrecy. This likely explains the change in Luck’s schedule, which likely allowed for him to continue that out of view of others.
He described the ball he is throwing as a “bridge ball” and it is a high school size ball, according to Mike Chappell and Matt Kryger:
Per sharp eye (lens) of @MattKryger, Andrew Luck throwing a Wilson Tds 1205, which is a normal high school football.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) June 12, 2018
Regardless, Luck said this was because the slightly smaller ball puts less strain on the shoulder. He also talked about doing lots of overhand tennis serves. If that sounds familiar to you, it should. Why? Because I wrote about that back in April when we dove into what exactly Tom House’s throwing program looks like and how it could actually improve Andrew as a player. Luck backed up what we talked about, which is that the motion is useful for fine tuning movement but doesn’t put the same strain on the shoulder.
When asked specifically about the pain and soreness he felt last season in October when we saw him launching bombs in the Colts facility before being shut down and if he had soreness now, Luck gave a truly open answer:
“Very different soreness. I had pain last year. Pain that I wasn’t being honest to myself about. I was trying to ‘get through’ pain per se. There’s none of that right now.”
He also talked about how he would likely miss days during training camp as a part of a very specific plan with Reich, and that he would not practice on Thursday to rest his shoulder. Over and over he talked confidently about sticking to the plan and how well that had helped him progress up to this point.
When asked how his shoulder feels relative to before, he struggled to give a clear answer, because as he said, it was a long time ago and it is hard to describe exactly how your arm feels, but ultimately stated that it probably felt as good or better than it had at the start of 2015 prior to his injury.
He used the word “dips” to describe the degradation or down time of his body after workouts and throwing sessions and said they have become shorter than they were and no longer debilitating. The incremental process of adding new challenges, he says, have given his body time to adapt.
“I don’t dip as much, I don’t have, like, oh my gosh, I can’t move my arms the rest of the day. It’s like, oh, when are we going next?”
He also hinted at a stylistic change in his play when asked about maintaining his health.
“Part of my goal is to make sure I’m in as good of shape as possible, and playing a style of football that at the same time suits me, but is also what’s best for the team.”
Reich’s quick striking offense will likely be a part of that, but he will work closely with Luck to make sure that he is getting rid of the ball quickly and not taking unnecessary hits. One of the best and worst things about Luck is that he wants to hit the home run every time. That happy medium will be critical to getting the most out of his ability.
When asked if he was optimistic about his chances of playing week one as the starter, Luck was completely clear.
“No knock on wood, I’m gonna be there. I’ll be playing. I believe it in my bones.”
While the doldrums of the NFL calendar loom ahead, it is really nice to head into them with some great news. You can view the full press conference below.