The NFL already has fined four players for illegal hits on rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star reports. Are defenders taking cheap shots at Luck?
“I can’t say they are purposely,” interim head coach Bruce Arians said, “but there sure are a lot of them happening.”
That’s one of the downsides of Luck’s mobility in the pocket and outside of it. Extending plays to deliver a pass downfield gives pass rushers additional time to zero in. Scrambling for a first down or touchdown exposes him to open-field hits, even when he decides to slide.
Whatever the situation, Arians warns, be smart.
“His athleticism puts himself in harm’s way a lot,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to protect yourself out there and get rid of the football at times and other times just be tough enough to handle it.
“I’m not going to change a bit the way he plays or approaches the game because other guys get concussions.”
Luck always has had a desire and knack to play on the run.
“Part of playing the position is extending the play,” he said, “and I’ve always felt comfortable throwing on the run. Even at a young age in high school, I was always begging the coaches, ‘Make one of the first passes a bootleg.’ I like getting into a rhythm that way.”
“Listen, I’m not looking to run, especially in this league,” he said. “You can’t take those hits. But out of necessity, if you’ve got to run, you may as well.”