Andrew Luck hasn’t played a snap of NFL regular season football for 19 months. The Indianapolis Colts franchise quarterback hurt his shoulder during the 2016 season and has been sidelined for a year and a half.
The good news is that Luck up is finally healthy and ready to play again. The bad news is that he’s nervous about getting back on the football field after so much downtime. Let’s discuss what he had to say along with the Colts’ prospects for the 2018 NFL season.
What’s the Shoulder Injury that Has Kept Luck Sidelined?
Andrew Luck has always been considered a quarterback who can lead Indianapolis to great things. And he definitely lived up to this billing during the first few seasons of his career, leading the Colts to identical 11-win seasons from 2012 to 2014.
Unfortunately for Luck, his health has been the opposite of his name. He underwent shoulder surgery in 2016 and missed the entire 2017 campaign when he had a number of mysterious setbacks.
Some wondered if he would ever get back on the field at full strength. But many reports so far indicate that he’s throwing the ball well and should reclaim his former glory.
Luck Has Jitters about Playing Again
The last time that Luck played an NFL regular season game was on New Year’s Day 2017, when Indianapolis beat the Jacksonville Jaguars to finish 8-8.
He added, “I’m just going out there throwing balls. There is nothing holding me back.
“There are some things that feel really good, like an old sweatshirt that you put on that just fits well. And there are some things that still feel awkward and new and wobbly, per se.”
How will Luck Perform in 2019?
Many speculate that Luck is destined for more success in 2018 thanks to an overhaul of the coaching staff. Frank Reich has taken over for fired head coach Chuck Pagano, while Nick Sirianni will serve as the new offensive coordinator.
Their off-season goal for Luck will be starting out slowly and steadily increasing his passing workload. He’s only making about half as many passes as a normal NFL starter would in training camp. But he’s going full speed with strength and agility drills in the meantime.
The idea here is to bring Luck’s confidence and shoulder along slowly so that he’s fully ready by the beginning of the regular season. While it’s good that he playing without pain again, it’s anybody’s guess as to what kind of season Luck will have.
When healthy, the 28-year-old is a Pro Bowl quarterback who’s capable of carrying Indianapolis to victory. He showed this during the aformentioned stretch where the Colts won their division three years in a row.
That said, it’s no surprise Reich and Sirianni want to avoid any setbacks with Luck so that he’s ready by the start of the season.
Colts 2018 Odds for AFC Championship and Super Bowl
Indianapolis hasn’t made the playoffs for three straight years. Not coincidentally, the past three years have also seen Luck plagued by injuries.
His shoulder problems began towards the end of 2015 and carried on into the 2016 campaign. It’s at this point that he elected to end the season with shoulder surgery.
Luck didn’t take a single snap in 2017, which is a big reason why the team only finished 4-12. But as long as he’s able to play, they should at least improve upon this total.
Here the GTBets odds for each AFC South team heading into the season:
- Jacksonville +150
- Houston +190
- Tennessee +390
- Indianapolis +550
As you can see, there is a new projected king of the AFC South. The Jacksonville Jaguars are fresh off an AFC Championship appearance. And they’ll be looking to win their division for the second straight season.
Both Houston and Tennessee are also ahead of the Colts in terms of odds. But this isn’t to say that Indianapolis is a guaranteed cellar dweller.
Much of their low ranking has to do with the fact that they’re entering 2018 with a fresh look. Nobody really knows what to expect from them due to the new coaching staff and a rusty Luck.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see how this season plays out for the Colts. It’ll also be intriguing to watch how Luck bounces back from not playing football for so long.