Posted on September 4, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
After his status for the season remained a mystery for much of the preseason, there is finally some clarity on Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck. The Colts announced Monday that Luck will not be available to play Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams. Luck is not yet able to practice, as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. His status for Week 2 and beyond is still unclear. However, the Colts finally know with certainty that Luck will not be their quarterback when the 2017 season begins.
“Still no timetable,” Colts GM Chris Ballard said Monday about Luck practicing. “He’s in the training phase right now. He’s done excellent in his rehab, and we’re still continuing to take it week to week.”
With Luck out, Scott Tolzien will start for the Colts. Tolzien has played in just nine NFL games, throwing just 128 passes in that span. Tolzien also has just two touchdown passes and seven interceptions in his NFL career. Backing up Tolzien will be Jacoby Brissett. The Colts acquired Brissett in a trade with the Patriots over the weekend, sending wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to New England.
The silver lining with Luck is that the Colts were able to remove him from the physically unable to perform list on Saturday. Had Luck remained on the PUP list, he would have missed at least the first six weeks of the season. That move could indicate that the Colts are hopeful he’ll be back sooner rather than later.
Of course, Luck has not participated in any team practices this preseason. He routinely missed a day of practice last season to rest his shoulder before undergoing surgery in January. The Colts would like to avoid a similar situation this season, which may be why he continues to sit out practice and merely throw on his own.
“Every player needs to practice,” Ballard said. “(They) need to be with their teammates, they need to be able to practice, and Andrew is going to need the same thing. That came in a lot with the decision of the PUP because, when he is back, we want to incorporate him back into practice.”
The Colts are no doubt at a disadvantage with Tolzien starting over Luck. But with Luck poised to turn 28 later this month, Indianapolis still views him as the team’s quarterback for many years to come. Thus, the Colts will not rush him back and risk his long-term health.
“We don’t want to jeopardize for the short term here over the long haul,” explains Ballard. “Andrew is a young player still, and we have to have a long-term view of where we’re going.”
Luck played through issues with his shoulder over the past two seasons. He’s missed 10 games over that span, with the Colts missing the playoffs both years. If missing a few games at the start of this season helps to keep Luck on the field long term, it’s a tradeoff the Colts appear willing to make.
It’s pertinent to note that the Colts play in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. That should give them some leeway to keep Luck on the sidelines until he’s fully recovered and has had enough practice time with the rest of the Indianapolis offense. However, Tolzien is an unproven backup and the rest of the Colts roster has obvious weaknesses. Winning without Luck has been difficult in the past. The Colts need him back as soon as possible if they’re going to go anywhere in 2017.