A week into camp, the Colts still haven’t activated quarterback Andrew Luck from the physically unable to perform list. G.M. Chris Ballard said last week that it will happen before Week One; according to George Bremer of the Anderson (Ind.) Herald Bulletin, that assessment still stands.
Even if Luck is ready for Week One, he’s missing valuable reps in practice. Last week, former NFL coach Kevin Gilbride joined PFT Live to discuss among other things the importance of the reps Luck isn’t able to take.
“I think it’s very important,” Gilbride said. “Obviously I look at it through a special lens because as a coach you believe every rep is important, every practice, every meeting. And it’s critical to development. It’s probably not as important as coaches always thought it was. But in truth there’s no doubt that this is an important time frame in terms of getting a guy ready.
“Mentally, depending on upon how much if any they’re changing offensively, you’d like to get as much familiarity with whatever it is you’re gonna be doing. Regardless of whether it’s the exact same offense or not, there’s a time frame where you focus on the individual, on the development and growth of your teams, your cohesion, your unity, your improvement, your elevation of execution of your play. Because once the season starts you’re focused almost entirely and exclusively on getting ready for your opponent. This is the time where techniques and fundamentals and your rehearsal of doing things over and over making sure that whatever footwork and body language you’re using on a particular run when you execute that play-action off that particular exact run action that it looks exactly the same. And you film those things, and you show them, and you can spend time working and making sure that they look as much as possible and to be exactly the same. So when the defense is looking at it they can’t tell the difference.
“You don’t have time to be doing that stuff during the season. . . . We had a ball handling section, we had an upper body section where we just worked on the throwing motions of the upper body. We had an eye focus and visualization section. We had movement drills, we had mental work, we had classroom work, we had accuracy drills, we had pass set-up drills, we had throwing on the move drills, we had quickness and foot control drills. You don’t have time to do those things during the season. This is your time to make sure that you are ready as you can be to play your position.”
Gilbride provided a good comparison that crystallizes the problem that will arise if Luck tries to play without practice.
“I always liken it to when you rehearse for a speech,” Gilbride said. “Well the first time you give that speech you’ve worked and you’ve worked and you’ve worked and it comes across pretty well. But the second time you’re a little bit better. The third time you’re even better. By the time you give it the fifth or sixth time you’re really — all the pauses, all the intonations, all the points of emphasis, you’ve really got it down. You’re not even thinking about it anymore. And that’s certainly where you wanna get your quarterback to. The difference between success and almost being successful is very, very small. I think every rep you can get as a quarterback, just like any position, but the quarterback position specifically that you can get in the OTAs and in your training camp and in your exhibition season, you gotta get them now. Because once the season starts it’s all about the opponent.”
Luck is surely smart enough and skilled enough to eventually get himself ready, and he’s surely putting in plenty of work without practicing. But with no reps in the offseason program and no reps thus far in camp and uncertainty as to when he’ll be able to practice, there’s reason for Colts fans not to worry about whether he’ll be able to go in September, but whether he’ll be ready to go.