Andrew Luck’s performance through three games has some observers wondering whether the Colts quarterback’s shoulder is fully healed from the surgery that cost him all of last season.
Luck told reporters Wednesday he’s fine. But some of his metrics are down enough that people are asking questions about his arm strength, questions that only intensified after backup QB Jacoby Brissett came in for a Hail Mary situation in the Colts’ loss to the Eagles Sunday.
“You know I think on one coin I think I will always be a work in progress and I would like to think that every day I can become a better thrower and whether that means more zip on a certain throw, whether than means putting it an inch to the left or an inch to the right or on his right shoulder or in the appropriate spot,” Luck said. “… At the same time I think, I know I am at a level where I can make all the throws and I feel confident that I am going out there with my full arsenal, if that makes sense. I don’t think anything is physically holding me back.”
Andrew Luck on the deep passing game and his arm strength: pic.twitter.com/M1he2ZQ1Ku
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) September 26, 2018
It’s not surprising Luck, or more specifically, his shoulder, is under the media microscope. After undergoing surgery in early 2017, he was expected to play last season, but his recovery timetable kept getting pushed back, until he was finally ruled out for the year.
Some of Luck’s numbers through three games look fine. His 68.5 completion percentage would be a career high if maintained it the full season. His 84.8 QB rating is just under his career 87.2 mark. But for anyone who has watched a Colts game this year can attest, most of his completions and attempts have been on short, high-percentage routes. He has not been airing the ball out. His 5.3 yards per pass attempt is down from 7.8 in 2016.
Numbers analyst J.J. Zachariason of @LateRoundQB points out that only 10.5 percent of Luck’s passes have traveled 15 or more yards through the air. That’s the third-lowest mark in the NFL this season, behind Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. Luck’s previous career numbers there ranged from a low of 18.8 percent to a high of 24.1 percent.
Andrew Luck’s percentage of passes that traveled 15 or more yards through the air:
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) September 26, 2018
Three games is certainly too early to make judgments about Luck’s status. It’s worth noting the Colts have faced two of the top-10 pass defenses in the NFL so far in Washington and Philadelphia. It’s also possible the Colts might be gradually working Luck back into the full game plan.