Beyond the mediocre performance, Indianapolis’ biggest issue is the health of Andrew Luck. He had offseason shoulder surgery and still doesn’t look ready less than two weeks out from the first game.
When will Luck be healthy? What can we expect from these Colts when/if the 3-time Pro Bowler is available? Let’s discuss the mater below and look at the Colts’ odds right now.
2017/18 Indianapolis Colts Odds via GTBets
- Colts odds to win 2018 Super Bowl: +5000
- Colts odds to win AFC Championship: +2500
- Colts odds to win AFC South: +430
What Coach Chuck Pagano says about Luck
According to Indianapolis Star reporter Gregg Doyel, head coach Chuck Pagano isn’t offering much on the health status of his quarterback.
“No,” said the coach when pressed about if he’s seen Luck throw. “Most of the time he’s in the training room, we’re in meetings, doing such. I kind of stay in my lane.”
Doyel believes that Pagano has seen Luck throw lately. After all, it doesn’t make sense for a head coach to not account for how his star quarterback is progressing.
Owner Jim Irsay says Luck Likely Out in Week 1
Indianapolis opens their season on September 10 against the Los Angeles Rams. This is less than 10 days away, and Luck hasn’t had a chance to get any serious practice time in.
This is a strong indication that he’s probably not playing. Team owner Jim Irsay confirmed the speculation by saying that he too doesn’t expect Luck to suit up.
“I would say, again, the odds are most likely he probably won’t open up against the Rams,” Irsay said. “But let me be clear about it — in our minds, it’s something that we haven’t ruled out.
“We’re going to see where he’s at. It would be awesome [if he plays in Week 1]. We’re not talking Willis Reed or something like that. [Luck] is a young guy, 12 to 14 to 16, maybe 18 years [career], I don’t know, going forward [with the Colts]. The longer the better, in my opinion.”
Will Luck be on PUP List to Start Season?
Keeping Luck on the active roster means that we’ll probably see him at some point within the first few games. Moving him to the PUP list means that the 27-year-old will have to miss the first six games of the regular season.
Chances are that he’ll be on the 53-man opening day roster. But neither Irsay nor Pagano have offered any assurances that he’ll indeed play in the near future.
Unfortunately, Luck’s shoulder labrum injury, which occurred in the 2015 season, may take a toll on the quarterback’s psyche. Irsay said as much when discussing what goes into deciding when he can play again.
“It’s a great question, because it’s been said before by one of the greatest athletes and competitors who’ve played any sport,” said Irsay.
“The quote was this: ‘These games, all games, are played on a four-inch field between your ears. That’s where it’s at. You have to be able to deal with this, not only physically, but mentally.
“I have no doubt that Andrew Luck, the person we know that he is, he’s going to come through this thing – and he and I have had long talks about it – not just as good as he was, but a better quarterback. When is the question. That timetable is gonna be more on, really, the football Gods and Andrew’s gut feeling on how he’s feeling.”
Scott Tolzein or Stephen Morris are Next Up
In the mean time, Indianapolis needs somebody who can play immediately. And this means that backups Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris are battling for the starting job.
Odds are that Tolzien will be under center against the Rams and possibly beyond Week 1. Tolzien has been solid in the preseason, completing 19-of-29 passes for 217 yards, no TDs, and one interception. Obviously these aren’t inspiring numbers, but they’ll have to do with Luck out.
Morris still has a chance to start. He’s yet to take a regular season snap in three seasons, but has put up decent preseason numbers. Morris completed 36-of-51 passes for 348 yards and 1 touchdown thus far. This has come against second and third-stringers, but the completion rate is still impressive.
When will Luck be Back?
The hope is that Tolzien or Morris are merely a temporary solution until the Colts can get Luck back. But when will this be?
Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. First off, we’re talking about an injury that occurred 3 games into the 2015 season and wasn’t surgically repaired until 15 months later.
Lucky probably should’ve taken care of the shoulder surgery when he suffered a lacerated kidney midway through the 2015 campaign. But he didn’t and went into 2016 with so much pain that he couldn’t even practice some days. He also needed pain injections to suit up for many games.
The Colts could’ve definitely handled this situation better. Maybe they were trying to reclaim the glory of the 2014/15 season, when they made the AFC Championship.
But now, three years later, they’re preparing to start Scott Tolzien at QB with an uncertain timetable on Luck’s return.