One week into training camp with the Indianapolis Colts and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has met, or exceeded, most expectations.
That’s not exactly a surprise. Luck, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 National Football League draft, has been impressive across the board. His grasp of the Colts’ offensive playbook, along with his on-field awareness, tops the list. But there is much more to the former Stanford signal caller.
Accuracy for one. Over the past week — practices Sunday through Saturday — Luck has completed 122-of-162 passes (that’s a .753 completion percentage) for seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
Yes, those stats have been compiled in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 practice situations. And, yes, he hasn’t faced a full-speed pass rush just yet.
One week into camp and pretty much the entire offensive playbook has already been installed. There hasn’t been any information overload on Luck’s part yet. He’s been able to pick up things up quickly and he’s been able to put that information to good use. Few mental errors. Even fewer physical mistakes.
But the two-time Heisman Trophy runnerup (2010, 2011) isn’t getting ahead of himself. The son of an NFL quarterback, he knows that there’s still plenty of work to do.
“Just because everything is installed doesn’t mean it’s all down pat, in an airtight lock. It’ll be nice to be able to go back and say OK we’ve run this play a couple of times now, now let’s really get a good feel for it,” Luck said after Saturday’s morning practice.
Despite all the hoopla and attention that comes with being the first pick of the draft, he’s still a rookie who is about a week away from playing in his first NFL preseason game.
“I feel like a rookie, especially when I have to sing in front of all the guys. I try and approach everyday, especially with the mental attributes and say, ‘OK, I’m going to handle mentally everything that’s thrown my way.’ I feel like a scrub rookie everyday so far,” Luck voiced, adding that he’s getting a good handle on the offense.
“On the right track, definitely on the right track. Nowhere near 100 percent. I don’t know if it’ll ever be 100 percent, but on the right track.”
• Defense helps — Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has been doing his best to make sure that Luck is well-prepared to face an NFL defense.
Instead of throwing up vanilla coverages during training camp pass drills, Manusky has been mixing in various real-game blitz packages and looks up front.
“It’s awesome to sort of have the kitchen sink thrown at you, different blitzes and different looks, because it does make a difference,” the Colts’ quarterback said.
“I think to be able to see things unfold and go in the meeting room afterward and say, ‘OK let’s dissect this blitz, what are they doing here and why’ and great discussion starters and it’s great practice when you play the defenses that coach [Chuck] Pagano’s been around and coach Manusky.”
To take it a few steps further, Luck often checks with a few of the Colts’ defensive players in an effort to find out if he’s tipping plays off with his mannerisms or technique.
“Especially with an established player, [free safety] Antoine [Bethea] or [strong safety Tom Zbikowski] or [cornerback] Jerraud [Powers] back there, that have seen quarterbacks play,” he explained.
“It’s not everyday I’m going to go up and say, ‘Hey what do you think of this?’ But just if I catch them somewhere walking [up to the line of scrimmage] I’ll ask them if I’ve been tipping anything off.”
• Pagano, Arians impressed — One week does not make an NFL career. The Colts’ coaching staff has been quick to point that out when discussing Luck’s learning curve so far.
Still, they really like what they’ve seen so far.
“You love to see the progress that [he] is making. He’s steadily getting better each and every day. He’s done it from day one until now. Some of the throws that he makes, I’m sure you sit back and they are jaw droppers. Some of them and you just go ‘Wow.’ I sit back from my vantage point now [behind the offense] and some of them are amazing,” Pagano voiced last week.
“He’s got such great pocket presence. He’s building chemistry with every one of those guys out there. He’s spreading the wealth. He keeps his eyes down the field. He was sliding the pocket so he’s doing a nice job, and the offensive line, everybody else is doing a great job protecting him.”
Earlier in the week, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians — who has worked with the likes of Peyton Manning, Tim Couch and Ben Roethlisberger — had raved about Luck’s potential.
“It’s just ‘wow’ every day. I’ve never been around a guy who can learn that fast. I’ve been around guys who are extremely smart, worked extremely hard at it, but he just gets it. It’s kind of scary that he can. I have to watch that he and I don’t get ahead of everybody else, because his learning curve is so quick,” Arians said.
“Those young receivers, young tight ends, he’ll leave them in the dust. And I’ll leave them in the dust because I have a way of doing that myself with the quarterback. So we really have to guard that we don’t get in too much, too quickly and try to play at his speed.”
• Olympic connection — The sister-in-law of Colts defensive end Fili Moala, Tumua Anae, is the goalkeeper for the United States Olympic women’s water polo team.
Moala, meanwhile, admits that he can tread water and swim in a straight line. That’s the extent of his aquatic activities.
• Injury list — Sitting out Saturday afternoon’s practice were defensive end Cory Redding (rest), outside linebacker Robert Mathis (rest), cornerback Chris Rucker (flu-like symptoms), cornerback Justin King (hip flexor), rookie cornerback Buddy Jackson, rookie wide receiver Griff Whalen (foot), rookie offensive guard Justin Anderson (foot), rookie outside linebacker Tim Fugger (sports hernia) and rookie nose tackle Josh Chapman (knee).
Pagano said that Rucker has been suffering from a severe sore throat for several days. “We’re going to do some tests on him. We’re going to take him to the doctor and actually find out what it is because he’s had it for some time now and has been toughening it out,” the Colts coach said.
Having Mathis and Redding watching the workout was just precautionary.
“As you get into camp, four or five days in, there’s a lot of soft tissue-type injuries. So we wanted to just hold them back and get them a day,” Pagano noted. “They’re getting up there a little bit [in age] so we just held them and they should be back ready to go [today].”
• Pagano’s father in attendance — Sam Pagano, a retired Colorado high school football coach, was at Saturday afternoon’s practice.
“It’s special. It’s a special deal. It’s like me growing up watching him all those years. When I grew up on the sidelines and watching him run the show for so long. All the things you learn along the way, I learned at a very young age. Having the opportunity to grow up in what I think is the No. 1 team sport in the entire world,” Chuck Pagano said of his dad’s visit.
“Football is a great, great team sport. And I was fortunate because of my dad to have the opportunity to grow up in the lockerroom, be around the guys, be around the coaches and watch them work. So it was a special deal.”
Any words of wisdom from the 72-year-old award-winning coach?
“Don’t mess it up,” the younger Pagano said with a laugh.
• Stormy weather Saturday — The workout was stopped midway through a planned two-and-a-half-hour session due to thunderstorms that rolled through Madison County.
“With the weather as it was, there was a front coming in. Player safety is utmost importance. We saw the [weather] cell. [Athletic trainer] Dave Hammer and our crew do a great job. They were all over it,” Pagano said.
“They saw the [storm] cell coming. It was 10 minutes away. We saw the lightning strike going, so we’re not going to jeopardize anybody’s safety or anybody’s health to get the work done.”
After working on goal-line and short-yardage situations, the Colts finished up their practice indoors. There is no scheduled practice this morning, so work resumes with an afternoon session at 1:50.
Rookie QB pleased with progress after first week of camp
One week into training camp with the Indianapolis Colts and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has met, or exceeded, most expectations.
Colts' coordinators enjoying getting rookies acclimated
While the Indianapolis Colts put their rookies and a handful of second-year players through workouts this weekend at the team’s Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, a pair of first-year coordinators are getting a chance to do some valuable on-field work as well.
Werner, 36 others open Colts’ mini camp
The Indianapolis Colts welcomed 37 players to the start of the team’s rookie mini camp Friday at the West 56th Street headquarters.
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Werner at top of game
Bjoern Werner was a late comer to football. But after being selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Werner realizes that he has reached the pinnacle of the sport in a relatively short amount of time.
Colts select pass rusher Werner in first round
The Indianapolis Colts selected Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive lineman can also play left outside linebacker.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Direction clear for Colts in 2013 draft
The Indianapolis Colts head into the 2013 NFL Draft with some definite plans.
Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
Veteran defensive end Cory Redding is a big fan — literally and figuratively — of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Redding, who has become one of the Colts’ lockerroom leaders after just one season with the team, thinks he has some reasonable expectations of Indianapolis’ former No. 1 draft pick.
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser-priced players, the Indianapolis Colts’ big-time foray into the veteran free-agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
After adding five veteran free agent players to the Indianapolis Colts roster on Tuesday, general manager Ryan Grigson plucked two more plums late Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
The Indianapolis Colts were a busy team on the opening day of the National Football League’s veteran free agent market, which got underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
An Indianapolis Colt for life. Pencil in Jeff Saturday for that honor.
The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
The 14-year veteran center in the National Football League put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in-between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — that Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
Former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday will make his retirement from the National Football League official on Thursday.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts GM enjoying time at combine
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson makes no bones about it. He enjoys watching prospective football players strut their stuff.
Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
According to most National Football League draft observers, this year’s crop of prospects is deep with quality offensive and defensive linemen.
Among the offensive line candidates who have been showcasing their talents at the National Football Scouting Combine, which began in earnest Thursday and wraps up on Tuesday, the spotlight has been on the offensive tackles. Offensive left tackles in particular.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
The news coming out of the Indianapolis Colts headquarters Friday afternoon was not totally unexpected. Team officials have confirmed that two veteran players – former Pro Bowl defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie — will not be returning for the 2013 season.
Colts’ new offensive coordinator will offer variety
Quarterback Andrew Luck running the Pistol offense? Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton lining up in the Wildcat?
Colts moving on to the off season
Moving on. That’s the immediate plans for the Indianapolis Colts as they head into the off season.
Baltimore ends Indy’s playoff run early
The Baltimore Ravens want one long final ride for Ray Lewis. Having disposed of Andrew Luck and the Colts, they now face a more imposing challenge.
Next up, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Switching sides: Colts-Ravens matchup includes old friends on new teams
Just as Baltimore Ravens players and coaches will be seeing some old friends returning to M&T Bank Stadium today, several Indianapolis Colts veterans will also have an opportunity to renew acquaintances with a familiar face.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
Pagano marvels at Colt’s progress
In the minutes after last Sunday’s win over AFC South champion Houston, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano marveled at how the 2012 season has progressed for his team.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts' coordinators enjoying getting rookies acclimated