Andrew Luck

Colts Notes: Luck, Anderson, Barrett

It was reported over the weekend that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck drew trade interest from teams as far back as the 2017 trade deadline. Team owner Jim Irsay addressed those rumors, saying teams were willing to part with a small fortune to acquire the quarterback, Fox 59’s Mike Chappell writes.

“Trust me, there were people who would have given an unprecedented amount of draft picks – all with the No. 1 behind them – for him,’’ Irsay said. “And we wouldn’t even think of even drifting in that direction. He’s our guy. We feel 100 percent confident he’s going to come back and lead this football team with some of the new teammates . . . to great things.”

Though he missed the entire 2017 season and has yet to resume throwing, Luck would still almost assuredly force teams trying to acquire him to give up multiple No. 1s and then some. A franchise quarterback who is just 28 years old rarely if ever pops up on the market. Not that there is a market, as the Colts reportedly laughed off inquiries at the time.

Luck led the Colts to an 11-5 mark and the playoffs in each of his first three seasons before missing half of the 2015 season with an injury. He returned and played 15 games the following campaign, going 8-7 and just missing the postseason. Though he was reportedly close to throwing a ball in January, Luck told reporters in early April that he has yet to throw an NFL-sized ball and is not rushing it.

Here’s more with the Colts:

  • In addition to laughing off trade requests, team general manager Chris Ballard told reporters about trading Andrew Luck — “I’m not putting that on my resume,” Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. Though Irsay notes teams were willing to give up a king’s ransom for the quarterback, Ballard didn’t seem to be interested in the move no matter the cost.
  • On Saturday, the Colts shipped defensive lineman Henry Anderson to the Jets in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Addressing the trade, Ballard said the deal was based on scheme fit, saying Anderson worked better with the Jets than Indy, Chappell tweets.
  • Ballard also added that the team is bringing in former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett for rookie minicamp and that he is not signed to the team, Chappell tweets. Barrett registered one of the greatest runs as a Buckeye, setting the school record with 38 victories, becoming the team’s only three-time captain and leading the team to a 4-0 record over rival Michigan.

 

Teams Contacted Colts About Luck Trade

For the second straight year, the Colts exit draft weekend unsure of exactly when their franchise centerpiece will be ready to throw again. But they did not select a passer and appear confident Andrew Luck will be ready at some point in the coming months.

But that didn’t stop teams from inquiring about the rehabilitating quarterback. Jim Irsay said the Colts received inquiries about what it would take to acquire Luck. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), one of these calls came about a year ago. Rapoport notes the Colts laughed at this potential deal and moved on quickly through a year that was the most disappointing of Luck’s career.

Chris Ballard said some of the Luck trade overtures emerged just before last year’s trade deadline, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (via Twitter).

Irsay insisted Luck will be fully cleared for all football-related activities by training camp. While we’ve heard the owner express confidence regarding his starting quarterback before, only for it to lead to disappointment, the Colts’ actions this weekend and this offseason support Luck being on schedule to begin throwing at some point.

However, considering we’re approaching May and it hasn’t happened yet, the timetable is condensing to where the franchise will likely need to see something fairly soon to remain optimistic Luck will be back in time for this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Andrew Luck Yet To Resume Throwing

A January report indicated Andrew Luck was “very close” to resuming a throwing program. Well, as mid-April nears, he’s not there yet. Luck, though, did show up to Day 1 of Frank Reich‘s Colts program.

However, Indianapolis’ franchise player has yet to throw an NFL-sized football this offseason.

I have not picked up The Duke and started throwing it yet,” Luck said, via Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter), about resuming throwing. “I don’t want to skip steps. I’m trusting the process I’m in now very, very much.”

Luck said (via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, on Twitter) his return to the practice field in the fall required him to push too hard, something he “paid for” en route to IR and, eventually, Europe. Holder adds (via Twitter) Luck mentioned that his playing through injuries during the 2015 and ’16 seasons may be contributing to his current status. Holder doubts, based on Luck’s comments Monday, the seventh-year quarterback will participate in Indianapolis’ offseason program (Twitter link). Luck had hoped to partake in some of the Colts’ offseason work back in December.

The 28-year-old passer has a timetable but isn’t sharing that just yet, per Mike Chappell of Fox 59 (on Twitter). The Colts, of course, traded out of the No. 3 spot and collected high-value picks from the Jets to do so. They are not expected to draft a quarterback high, remaining committed to Luck’s recovery.

I’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still a bit of the road to go,” Luck said, via Chappell. “I’m very excited to be back in the building.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Luck, Hankins, Bucs

We learned earlier today that Ndamukong Suh has completed his initial visit with the Saints and that his visit with the Titans is still ongoing. Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s south divisions:

  • Yesterday, the Colts agreed to trade their No. 3 overall selection in this year’s draft to the Jets in exchange for New York’s No. 6 overall pick and three second-round selections (including one in 2019). Most pundits believe that’s a pretty nice haul for Indianapolis, and Mike Wells of ESPN.com says it’s also good news for Andrew Luck. With this year’s class of rookie QBs considered to be quite strong — indeed, the Jets are widely expected to use the No. 3 overall pick on a signal-caller — the Colts could have guaranteed themselves of a Luck insurance policy if they felt they needed one. Instead, the move signals to Wells that the team is convinced Luck will look like his usual self in 2018 and beyond.
  • The Colts made the surprising decision to cut Johnathan Hankins yesterday, and Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star writes that the move was scheme-based. Indianapolis is converting from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme this year, and while Hankins had only worked in a 4-3 before joining the Colts, the team believes that Hankins’ skill-set will not fit its new emphasis on speed and quickness. Hankins played quite well in 2017, though, and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com believes he will land a contract that pays him $7MM per year on the open market (Twitter link).
  • The Colts-Jets swap, combined with the Buccaneers‘ signing of Ryan Jensen, could result in a top-five prospect falling to Tampa Bay, which holds the No. 7 overall pick, as Jenna Laine of ESPN.com writes. Laine examines a few scenarios that could lead to a player like NC State’s Bradley Chubb or Penn State’s Saquon Barkley dropping into the Bucs’ laps.
  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has used free agency to drastically improve his team in the past, but as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Dimitroff is largely eschewing free agency this year. Atlanta has a strong roster with a number of quality young players on the defensive side of the ball, so the club is content to build through the draft. The team did sign Brandon Fusco to a three-year deal to be its starting right guard, but otherwise, the Falcons’ top priority this offseason is to get an extension done for Matt Ryan.

Colts To Hire Shane Steichen As Offensive Coordinator

[UPDATE: There are conflicting reports on the Colts’ OC situation. Field Yates of ESPN.com reports that Nick Sirianni is the expected hire.]

The Colts are expected to hire Chargers quarterbacks coach Shane Steichen as the team’s new offensive coordinator, sources told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link). Shane Steichen (featured)

In 2017, Steichen completed his second season as the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach, helping Philip Rivers throw for 8,901 yards and 61 touchdowns in those two campaigns. He replaces Rob Chudzinski, who held the position in Indianapolis since 2015.

In 2013, Steichen worked as an offensive quality control assistant with the Browns, working with the quarterbacks. That season, three different Cleveland signal-callers threw for 300 yards in a game. That led to a move to the Chargers, where he again served as an offensive quality control coach before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2016.

His work with Rivers surely played a role in catching the Colts’ eye. That experience with a veteran quarterback should help Steichen reintegrate Andrew Luck back into the offense after missing a season. That is, if he is fully healthy in 2018.

With Luck out of the lineup in 2017, the Colts ranked 30th in passing yards, 31st in passing touchdowns and 31st in total offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colts, Josh McDaniels

On Wednesday morning, GM Chris Ballard faced the media in the wake of Josh McDaniels‘ shocking decision to back out on becoming the team’s next head coach. Here’s a look at the highlights plus other news on McDaniels’ flip-flop:

  • McDaniels’ agent, Bob LaMonte, told him that he’s making perhaps the biggest professional mistake of his career by backing out of this Colts job at this point, according to sources who spoke with Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). On Wednesday afternoon, LaMonte terminated his relationship with McDaniels, a source tells Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (on Twitter). LaMonte is forfeiting a potentially large commission down the road should McDaniels become a head coach again, but he is also protecting future business by distancing himself from the Patriots OC.
  • Colts were going to pay McDaniels “fabulously,” a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter), so money was not the issue in Indianapolis. Pelissero hears that the coach also wasn’t warded off by Andrew Luck’s injured shoulder, owner Jim Irsay, or Ballard. At the end of the day, the Patriots just convinced him to stay. There’s no new contract in place for McDaniels yet, but Pelissero expects that to happen soon.
  • Ballard says two doctors who looked at Luck after the season have determined that he does not need surgery (Twitter link via Pelissero). Luck’s arm strength is good, the GM says, but he is now working on motion and arm speed. He has yet to pick up a football, but the team will not rush him or skip any steps.
  • The GM confirmed that none of the coaches from the initial wave of interviews will be in the mix, meaning that Kris Richard and Matt Rhule will not be considered (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • There were other candidates the Colts wanted to interview, Ballard said, but the playoffs got in the way (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of ESPN.com). The Colts are expected to request an interview with Eagles OC Frank Reich and he fits the bill as a coach who was tied up during the playoffs. Of course, the same could be said of McDaniels and that did not stop Indy from interviewing him.
  • The Colts will honor the contract of defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and others who have already signed their deals. That’s not an issue for Ballard who explained that he knew Eberflus well through Rod Marinelli. The former Dallas assistant was already a guy he wanted to run his defense.
  • The Colts got an uneasy feeling a week ago that something could be stalling with McDaniels, despite moving forward with his contract (Twitter link via Jay Glazer of FOX Sports).
  • McDaniels arrived at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday with the intention of cleaning out his office, but Bill Belichick‘s willingness to take his mentorship to a higher level played a big part in McDaniels reversing course, sources tell ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. Belichick told McDaniels that he would spend more time with him on the inner workings of the team, including roster construction and salary-cap management, which was viewed as “extremely valuable” to McDaniels. That could be part of a succession plan for Belichick in the future, but no assurances have been made to McDaniels.

Patriots Have Not Promised HC Job To Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels made the decision to walk away from the Colts’ head coaching job offer without receiving a promise that he will succeed Bill Belichick as the Patriots’ next head coach, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.Josh McDaniels (vertical)

McDaniels reportedly did not bail on Indianapolis because of money, but instead had concerns about moving his family away from the New England area. While McDaniels received “clarity” as to Belichick’s future in recent days, that apparently doesn’t mean he’s been told he’ll become the Pats head coach whenever Belichick retires. Indeed, if McDaniels had been informed Belichick was nearing retirement, he’d have been more inclined to take a head coaching job.

McDaniels may have had worries about the condition of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reported Sunday that some doctors believe Luck may require another surgery), but Florio indicates McDaniels’ chief concerns involved working with Colts owner Jim Irsay. Whether the next round of Indianapolis candidates will have that same uneasiness is unclear, but the Colts plan to restart their head coaching search this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Andrew Luck “Very Close” To Throwing Again

Andrew Luck‘s getting some quality airport time in during his extensive recovery period from a January 2017 surgery, but his next trip could be a sign he’s nearly ready to return to action.

The Colts quarterback will trek to the Los Angeles area to work with passing guru Tom House, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report. The duo reports Luck, who spent time in Europe after being placed on IR last year, is “very close” to a return to throwing.

Luck being set to throw again soon would indicate he does not need another surgery, which would gel with his comments in December about his troublesome right shoulder. The 28-year-old passer said then he doesn’t plan to miss any of the Colts’ offseason. While that seems unrealistic, the passer throwing again come February would appear to put him on track for some offseason participation.

Rapoport and Garafolo note Luck is currently working on his strength and motion, a natural precursor to actual passing work.

More than a year removed from labrum surgery, and on the heels of a lost season, Luck throwing again — coupled with the expected hire of Josh McDaniels — would double as invigorating steps for the Colts’ offense, one that ranked 31st this season. Luck’s presence attracted McDaniels to the Colts, so it stands to reason the incoming HC was pleased with what he was told about Luck’s progress.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Giants’ Pat Shurmur Hire

A difference between how Pat Shurmur approached his Giants interview helped land him the job. The former Vikings OC conducted his Giants meeting in a fashion that left no doubt the Giants were his first choice, which is something, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, team management couldn’t see in Josh McDaniels or Matt Patricia.

While Vacchiano reports some in the Giants’ organization preferred the two Patriots coordinators to Shurmur “until the very end,” he notes Shurmur left “by far” the strongest first impression on the Giants of the candidates summoned. One of the reasons management was sold on Shurmur was his desire to land the Giants’ job was far more evident than the other finalists’. Vacchiano writes McDaniels appeared to be more interested in the Colts’ job because of Andrew Luck‘s presence, and Patricia’s Lions connection turned out to be very real.

Multiple sources informed Vacchiano that Shurmur was at one point viewed as the favorite in Arizona and that his personality would work better there, but the former Browns coach, per the Giants, was intent on securing the New York job.

Shurmur’s interview, one John Mara ranked as arguably the best he’s seen, resulted in him edging the New England assistants after they’d been viewed as previous favorites. Shurmur also made the strongest connection with Dave Gettleman of the six candidates interviewed, which is interesting given Steve Wilks‘ history with the new Giants GM. Vacchiano notes Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin did not see eye to eye on key components of the team in their final years together, with a specific disagreement involving the team’s offensive line approach, and adds Mara appeared to indicate Reese and Ben McAdoo weren’t meshing as well as they’d hoped to.

Mara indicated a head coach/GM partnership was critical here, and Shurmur — who made a point of saying how much stock he places in repairing the Giants’ offensive front — appears to be in stride with Gettleman at this point.

Mara previously said he wanted a head coach with previous experience leading a team, and Vacchiano reports Shurmur was “much more willing” to accept his wrongdoings from his first job (with the 2011-12 Browns) than McDaniels (fired midway through his second Broncos season in 2010) was. Shurmur made clear he will hire an offensive coordinator, identifying that as a mistake from his first Cleveland campaign. The Giants ultimately ruled out Wilks because of his lack of experience.

Shurmur also spoke with Eli Manning on the phone on Wednesday from the Senior Bowl and then sat down with the franchise passer in the Giants’ cafeteria on Friday, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports. Considering Gettleman’s praise for Manning, and what Shurmur offered about the quarterback’s future at his press conference, it’s starting to look like a strong bet he will be back in New York for his age-37 season.

Schwartz writes Shurmur’s approach with Manning differs from Coughlin’s with Kerry Collins, whom the Giants replaced with Manning in 2004. Coughlin ignored Collins when they saw each other at the facility during the months his and Collins’ tenures overlapped in ’04, Schwartz recalls.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh McDaniels Prefers Titans To Colts?

Josh McDaniels will be the next head coach of the Colts. Or maybe not. Josh McDaniels (vertical)

The Titans canned Mike Mularkey on Monday morning, opening up speculation that the Titans have their eye on another head coaching candidate. If that preferred candidate is McDaniels, then they could have a match. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (Twitter link), the belief prior to the Colts report was that McDaniels would prefer the Titans to all of the other available coaching jobs. McDaniels is high on Marcus Mariota‘s potential and also has concerns about Andrew Luck‘s health.

McDaniels may have had a verbal agreement with the Colts, but there’s nothing in writing as the Patriots’ season is still ongoing. Until then, there will be speculation surrounding a reunion between McDaniels and former Pats exec Jon Robinson,