said Matt Hasselbeck, the Colts’ backup quarterback who started Super Bowl XL for the Seattle Seahawks and is entering his 16th season in the league.
“He and Pep are seemingly always on the same page, and that’s probably the most important thing. He’s Pep on the field in socks.”
The better that connection is, the more efficient the Indianapolis offense works. The more efficient the offense is, the better it plays situational football. And the better the Colts play situational football, the more points they score.
It’s a simple enough equation, but it’s the result of an almost invisible game of chess within each football game.
Luck’s ability to memorize the game plan, read the defense and react quickly and correctly is such a complex skill even some of his own teammates might not fully appreciate it.
“I don’t think the team even sees it,” Hasselbeck said. “I don’t know if our teammates fully grasp, I know they respect, but I don’t know if they fully grasp how much work and preparation goes into that. I know our coaches understand it because ultimately the plan’s coming from them, but it’s just a lot of monotonous studying. Not only studying what’s going to happen but also studying what’s not going to happen.”
Luck has to be prepared for any eventuality, and he’d be the first to admit he’s still got room to improve.
Fortunately, it’s one of the skills that can be extensively sharpened during the type of non-contact practices that populate the offseason schedule.
“Our defense is doing a tremendous job going into Year 3,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. “Everybody feels, even though we’ve added a piece here or there, feels very comfortable with the system now. They’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink at our offense right now.