Another week has passed, and Andrew Luck — still — appears no closer to returning to quarterback the Indianapolis C0lts.
Luck, who underwent shoulder surgery nine months ago, seems unlikely to practice this week, which means that the Colts’ options at the position are Scott Tolzien or Jacoby Brissett, who was recently acquired from the New England Patriots.
“It’s something that we’ll discuss later [Monday night] and [Tuesday] as we game-plan,” Coach Chuck Pagano said (via the Indianapolis Star). “You gotta do what’s best for the football team and give us the best chance to move the ball and put points on the board.”
Tolzien did neither of those things in a poor performance in the opener against the Los Angeles Rams. His 33.8 passer rating in the loss means that the team is likely to strip the playbook and go with Brissett, for whom they traded Sept. 2, in their home opener Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
“There’s nobody that can come in and digest and learn a playbook in that period of time,” Pagano admitted. “There’s challenges with any quarterback in any system in any NFL building.”
Brissett did get a few moments in the Colts’ loss, and he completed 2 of 3 passes for 51 yards, including a 50-yarder.
“That’s not my job to tell who the starter is or not. That’s the coach’s job. It’s my job to go out there and just compete and continue to learn,” he said, showing that he had aced Media 101 under Coach Bill Belichick. “I’ve been here a week, but it’s a work in progress.”
Before Sunday, Tolzien had started three games in his four-year NFL career, two in 2013 with the Packers and one last year with the Colts, when he completed 22 of 36 passes for one touchdown with two interceptions in a 28-7 loss to the Steelers. He was similarly unimpressive during this preseason, completing 23 of 34 passes for 241 yards and zero touchdowns with one interception. Against the Rams, he completed 9 of 18 passes for 128 yards with two interceptions — both pick-sixes.
Brissett started two games as a rookie last season when Tom Brady was serving his four-game suspension and Jimmy Garappolo was out with a shoulder injury. He helped lead New England to a victory over the Texans and also suffered a loss to the Bills; he completed 34 of 55 passes but threw neither a touchdown pass nor an interception. More recently, he threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns and ran for one more in the Patriots’ 40-38 preseason loss to the Giants, securing a spot on New England’s final 53-man roster and allowing the team to trade him.
Of greater concern overall is just when Luck will be able to play. One week ago, there was still no clarity on the timetable for his return, and Pagano offered no clue Monday, saying he didn’t know whether Luck would practice this week. The No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft is still in what General Manager Chris Ballard said was the training phase of recovery and is likely to need several weeks of practice before playing in a game. Luck hasn’t played since the 2016 regular season finale on Jan. 1.
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