Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will make his NFL debut in eight days against the St. Louis Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium, but that realization threw off the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft when reminded of it.
“I didn’t realize we had a game then, to be honest,” Luck told the Indianapolis Star after Saturday’s morning practice. “We’ll still approach it as training camp practices until then. We’ll see how it goes.”
Not only are all eyes seemingly on Luck as the rookie goes through his first NFL training camp at Anderson University, he is fully aware of the attention he has been getting.
Luck is also being looked at as a leader by his teammates.
“The locker room has been very receptive, which is great as a young player to come into,” he told reporters. “You don’t feel like you have to force things or say certain things. Everyone is comfortable in their own personality. That’s something I try never to do, try to force a speech that’s outside of your personality or force being quiet or yelling if you’re a quiet guy.
”As a quarterback, you’re talking every play in the huddle. You naturally assume some air of leadership. It’s a process. You’ve just got to build the trust and build the confidence.“
Colts training camp began just a week ago, but Luck said he is getting more comfortable running the offense and matching up against the team’s 3-4 defense has forced him to learn fast. But he has a ways to go.
”Nowhere near 100 percent,“ Luck said. ”I don’t know if it will ever be 100 percent, but definitely on the right track.“
One of the things Luck has done is ask the defensive players if he has been tipping off plays.
”Especially with an established player, Antoine (Bethea) or (Tom Zbikowski) or Jerraud (Powers) back there, that have seen quarterbacks play,“ Luck said. ”It’s not every day I’m going to go up and say, ’Hey what do you think of this?’ But just if I catch them somewhere walking I’ll ask them if I’ve been tipping anything off.“
One of the ways in which Luck is having to learn on the fly is in facing a defense that is giving him a variety of different looks in practice.
”It’s awesome to sort of have the kitchen sink thrown at you, different blitzes and different looks, because it does make a difference,“ he said. ”I think to be able to see things unfold, and go in the meeting room afterwards and say, ’OK, let’s dissect this blitz, what are they doing here and why’ and great discussion starters and it’s great practice when you play the defenses that Coach (Chuck) Pagano’s been around and Coach (Greg) Manusky.“
Even though former Colts coach Tony Dungy and veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri have said that Luck looks like a third- or fourth-year veteran, Luck said he does not feel that way.
”No, I feel like a rookie, especially when I have to sing in front of all the guys,“ he said. ”I try and approach every day, especially with the mental attributes and say, ’OK, I’m going to handle mentally everything that’s thrown my way.’ It’s always very nice when two guys of such high caliber say those things, but I feel like a scrub rookie every day so far.“