Andrew Luck injury mismanagement will be Indianapolis Colts downfall


The Indianapolis Colts might be the biggest disappointment in the NFL this year, at least so far. Last Sunday, Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer reported that Andrew Luck has been battling with cracked ribs since week three. That was huge news to everyone because Luck’s shoulder injury was the only thing mentioned on the injury report. The issue is now being investigated by the NFL as withholding injuries from the injury report is a big deal in the NFL. If Luck actually does have cracked ribs, the Colts completely mismanaged the entire situation, and it might cost them a deep run in the playoffs.

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The less important part of this whole thing would be that the Colts did break a rule that is important in the NFL as all teams are expected to give full disclosure about their players injuries. Patriots fans would have a field day if this turns out to be true, as the Colts were the whistle-blower on the possibility of the Patriots footballs being deflated. The more important part is that Luck’s injury has clearly affected his playing and with that also the Colts entire season.

The Colts were supposed to be the No.1 seed in the AFC this year and it was supposed to be the year in which Andrew Luck finally makes it all the way. This offense looked like it could break records. They have T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief and first round pick Phillip Dorsett at wide receiver, giving them an extremely explosive and talented receiving corps. Then they also have two talented tight ends in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. So the Colts have more talented pass catchers then they are able to put on the field at one time.

Nov 2, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end

Kony Ealy

(94) knocks the ball away from Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line isn’t anything great, but it also isn’t terrible. The Colts also added Frank Gore over the offseason which really boosted the running game. This offense was destined for  greatness if you add the Andrew Luck of the past years into the equation and the possibility of them breaking records was very realistic. The defense of the Colts wasn’t supposed to be good, but it was supposed to be good enough. When you combine that talent with the second easiest schedule in the NFL, and you end up with a 3-5 Colts team at the half way mark, one has to ask what happened?

To start the season, the Colts offense just came out flat. They played the Jets and Bills who both matched up extremely well with them and their offense couldn’t get anything going against these two elite defense. Then after a huge comeback to beat the Titans, Andrew Luck missed the next two games due to a shoulder injury.

Since he returned, he still doesn’t look right and the Colts are 0-3, given that two of those losses were against the Panthers and Patriots. The big question that looms is if Andrew Luck has been playing hurt since returning from his two game absence, because if he is, the Colts are idiotic for letting him play at all.

The Colts are 2-0 under Matt Hasselback and 1-5 with Andrew Luck. I think nobody will state that the Hasselback is the better quarterback, but he has shown that he is good enough to get the job done, at least against the Jaguars and the Texans. Still, the Colts have shown that they are not good enough to make a deep playoff run when Luck is playing hurt like he currently is. So instead of playing him game after game with cracked ribs that he could just injure more, they should have just sat him until he is completely healthy.

Oct 25, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano reacts after a pass interference was not called during a game against the New Orleans Saints at Lucas Oil Stadium. New Orleans defeats Indianapolis 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

They will win the division no matter who is under center, because the rest of the AFC South is a joke. So there was no reason to jeopardize your franchise quarterback’s health by playing him through an injury. The only reason there actually would have been is to think about your seed in the playoffs, and if that was the mindset of Pagano, it completely backfired.

Luck, who supposedly is completely healthy now, doesn’t look like his old self. If he continues to play like he currently is, the Colts will probably make the playoffs, though it might be with a losing record, and then lose in the wild card round and start next season with a different coach.

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The health of your franchise quarterback really isn’t something you want to jeopardize but that is exactly what the Colts did. If he still has a rib injury or any different type of injury the Colts should sit him until he is 100 percent. The expectations they set for themselves and other had for them was Super Bowl or bust.

They still have the players to make that Super Bowl berth happen, but Luck has to be playing like his old self for them to even have a chance. Pagano really should have been out the door with Pep Hamilton this week. This situation was handled very poorly and it will likely cost someone his job at the end of the year.