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INDIANAPOLIS – After taking 82 snaps, throwing 53 balls (the second most of his career) and playing a 60-minute football game for the first time in 616 days, Andrew Luck did have a few extra aches this week.
“It was interesting,” Luck began on Wednesday, as the Colts returned to the practice field, “I forgot what it felt like post game and the next day. I’ve never been in a serious car wreck, thankfully, but I’d imagine you get a little bit of that feeling.
“I was sore. I felt a couple of those hits. But otherwise, I felt I came out fairly clean, felt like I had juice left in my arm, which I feel good about.”
Luck took 9 hits (2 sacks) in 55 dropbacks on Sunday. He admitted that after one hit he did immediately think about how his shoulder had reacted, but that thought quickly passed.
Speaking of the shoulder, the arm strength of Luck was something the quarterback admitted was not all the way back at the start of the preseason.
After his first regular season game, Luck is pleased with where that part of his game is at.
“I thought that was my best throwing day to date through this whole journey,” Luck said after completing 73.6 percent of his passes (39-of-53), the 5th highest percentage of his career. “That makes me happy.
“I do feel like (my arm strength) is where it needs to be. I’ve proven to myself that, especially in practice, that I can make those deeper throws.”
So, with Luck practicing and preparing for the team’s Week Two matchup against the Washington Football Team, here’s a notebook look at some Wednesday notes:
- Frank Reich doesn’t want to make a big deal about Sunday’s game possibly being played in inclement weather. The forecast with Hurricane Florence targeting the Carolinas is for landfall on Friday, which could lead to some rain and wind in the D.C. area come Sunday afternoon. But Reich downplayed the ramifications on the game. The Colts will do some wet ball drills in practice for the quarterback/center exchange (but no throwing with wet balls). “Don’t make a big deal about it,” Reich said of what he learned as a player playing in bad weather. “It’s not as bad as you think it is. It’s what you grew up in. Sometimes you go out in the backyard and it’s raining and windy. You just go out and play.” The Colts are in communication with the NFL if this weekend’s weather will impact the game being played as scheduled. So far, it’s scheduled as is, with the brunt of the hurricane expected much further south.
- When Matt Eberflus rattled off a half dozen defenders who played well on Sunday, his two young safeties were not on that list. Both Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers had a few gaffs in Week One, with both players looking a bit rusty after so much missed time in the offseason. “I think it was up and down at times,” Reich said of his safety play. Hooker was on a pitch count (playing 41 of the 56 defensive snaps).
- The praise for second-year corner Kenny Moore continues to pour in. Pro Football Focus had Moore with a 0.0 quarterback rating allowed in Week One, as he lined up both in the slot, and then outside in the dozen or so snaps of base defense. “Kenny is just so tough, so mentally tough,” Frank Reich said on Wednesday. He just grinds it out. He takes every rep in practice. He works hard. He has that mental toughness, that physical toughness. He has the winning attitude. He represents everything we want in our team.” Moore is this team’s most important corner.
- The Colts will be grading defensive effort pretty hard in 2018. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus isn’t afraid to point out a ‘loaf’ in the film room for guys not pursuing the football. Eberflus wasn’t happy with the amount of ‘loafs’ his unit had in Week One. “We are going to hold standards and hold people accountable to it, to the point where after practices, after games, if there’s a loaf, guys are getting called out for not hustling to the ball, probably at a level higher than teams I’ve been around,” Reich said on Wednesday. “It’s brutal. It’s like something you would see in a TV commercial. Everyone is getting held accountable on every single play. There’s no exceptions. You’ve got to run to the ball. That’s the distinction we are looking for. Over the course of time, the cumulative effect of that is going to lead to more turnovers. We might not notice a difference in one game. But over the course of a season, it adds up to an advantage. As it goes on, and you get to see what the standard is. Players are pretty smart. They know the difference between 99 percent 100 percent. We are asking for 100 percent.”
- Check out this for the latest on Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) and Marlon Mack (hamstring) playing this Sunday.
- CB-Quincy Wilson (right hand) had the club he wore in Sunday’s season opener trimmed down to more of a padded wrap at Wednesday’s practice. It was less gaudy than what we saw against the Bengals. On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus had this to say about Wilson’s hand injury: “I just think that it’s something that he has and he is going to have to learn how to use it. You have to learn how to tackle with it. You have to learn how to catch with it and you have to learn how to play football with it. So, it’s just something that he is learning to do.” Wilson struggled as the team’s third corner in Week One.
- The Colts will see former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky with the Washington Football Team this weekend. Manusky held that same post for the first four years (2012-15) of Chuck Pagano’s tenure. How much has the defense changed in a little over two seasons? Clayton Geathers is the only defender left from the Manusky era. Geathers was a rookie in 2015.
WEDNESDAY’S INJURY REPORT
-DNP: OT-Denzelle Good (knee/wrist), CB-Chris Milton (concussion)
-Bowen’s Analysis: Good isn’t expected to be back this week. Milton got hurt in Week One.
-LIMITED: DL-Denico Autry (ankle), OT-Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), S-Clayton Geathers (safety), RB-Marlon Mack (hamstring), DT-Grover Stewart (shoulder)
-Bowen’s Analysis: Couple of defensive starters on this list. We will see if they progress on Thursday and Friday.
FULL: WR-Ryan Grant (chest)
-Bowen’s Analysis: Grant had 8 catches in 9 targets on Sunday. He will be playing his former team in Week Two.