Night net null With less than two months until training camp and as the Colts’ offseason program winds down, Andrew Luck still is not throwing in team dr
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Andrew Luck, still not throwing, running out of time to ease Colts' anxiety


Andrew Luck, still not throwing, running out of time to ease Colts' anxiety

Night net null With less than two months until training camp and as the Colts’ offseason program winds down, Andrew Luck still is not throwing in team drills. Despite proclamations of the Indianapolis front office that the quarterback will be ready to go full tilt on Day 1 of camp, there surely is plenty of nervousness being kept under wraps.I understand it's important for the leadership of an organization to put on a good public face to keep concern from turning into panic when the face of the franchise is the focal point. When I was a GM, thankfully I never had to deal with our starting quarterback missing the entire prior season and ensuing offseason as he tried to return from a major injury. But I was plenty uneasy with situations such as that involving our Vikings first-round running back Robert Smith, who came back from two ACL surgeries. Things turned out well in Smith’s case; he had several Pro Bowl seasons after overcoming his injuries. In the Luck case, we're talking about Colts owner Jim Irsay, general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich trying to reassure players, coaches, team staff, fans, media and sponsors that the team's best player will indeed be steering the ship this season as the team seeks to rebound from last year's 4-12 disaster. And they also want Luck to know they believe in and are counting on him.The party line is that Luck has been working diligently through a carefully constructed rehab process; he will begin throwing without limitations in the weeks between minicamp and training camp so he can be ready in late July when the Colts report. He has been building his upper and lower body to take pressure off his surgically repaired right shoulder. And he reportedly has moved from tossing lighter to heavier balls in order to increase his arm speed and build strength. Related News Colts now have a motivated Andrew Luck, new offense waiting for him Night net QB RANKINGS:Luck slides ahead of 2018 seasonBack in February, there were lots of positive Luck-related quotes, such as Ballard saying, "I'm very confident and he's very confident that he's going to come back and prove a lot of people wrong." Irsay said in March that Luck will "throw quite a bit" during the offseason program.That has not been the case, and it likely will not occur during next week's mandatory minicamp, the most important pre-training camp activity. Ballard and Irsay have not been as talkative on Luck lately as they await his return.Reich, a first-year head coach, is installing an offense similar to the Eagles’ aggressive, quick-strike passing attack that he as offensive coordinator and head coach Doug Pederson parlayed to a Super Bowl title. There will be more no-huddle and up-tempo play in the Colts’ system.Luck has been doing all the mental drills, but it's not the same as live action. Ex-Colt Peyton Manning expressed it well last week by saying it's about getting a great number of on-field team reps when returning from major injury. And Manning should know.Reich recently said of Luck: "He's got elite level ability mentally and physically. I'm very confident that when he starts taking reps that things will accelerate very quickly. I'm not worried at all."Sorry, coach, but we know you're concerned. It’s only natural.Reich wanted his starter to be running the new offense by this point. The coach knows it's important for Luck to have as much time as possible to build chemistry with so many new faces like free-agent signees Eric Ebron at tight end and Ryan Grant at wide receiver, plus two draftees at wide receiver in Daurice Fountain and Deon Cain. There also are several new faces on the offensive line, led by first round-guard Quenton Nelson and second-round guard Braden Smith. They need to step up quickly to help a line that allowed a league-high 56 sacks last season.The Colts also have the benefit of a backup quarterback in Jacoby Brissett who has had a full offseason to prepare, unlike last year when he started 15 games and played mediocre after being acquired from the Patriots in a trade eight days before the season opener. But Indy’s hope is that Brissett will be holding the clipboard throughout the regular season after sharing time with Luck in the preseason. If Luck can't make it back or is reinjured, the Colts might have to seek an option better than Brissett.When and if Luck does return, everyone will wonder how quickly he will be able to shake off the rust. Will he be the old Luck or close to it when Indianapolis hosts Cincinnati in the season opener? Will he be able to handle the hits he'll inevitably absorb? Can his shoulder stand up to throwing 600-plus passes?Realistically for the Colts to be a playoff contender, they will need Luck at the top of his game right off the bat in a regular season that pits them against a tough stretch in Weeks 3-5 — they play at Philadelphia, host division-rival Houston and then go to New England. Indianapolis also takes on defending division-champion Jacksonville twice in a four-week stretch.MORE: Night net stadium rankingsSo the watch in Indy continues for the return of the $26 million-per-year quarterback who had $87 million guaranteed on the $140 million extension he signed in 2016. And, believe me, it's painful for a team owner and GM to have their highest paid player out for such an extended period.At 28, Luck has the time and talent to rekindle an outstanding career. But until everyone sees him on the field throwing full throttle and leading the Colts back to the playoffs, it remains a big if.The next few months will remain nerve-wracking for Colts Nation.Jeff Diamond is a former president of the Titans and former vice president/general manager of the Vikings. He was selected Night net Executive of the Year in 1998. Diamond is currently a business and sports consu

ltant who also does broadcast and online media work. He makes speaking appearances to corporate/civic groups and college classes on Negotiation and Sports Business/Sports Management. He is the former chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNight net.-

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