As a diehard Colts fan, it pains me to type these words, but amid reports that Luck will possibly need surgery after getting his non-FDA approved shady Eastern European treatment, things are definitely looking bleak for number 12. We’re at the point now where Luck’s shoulder injury that’s been lingering since 2015 is worse than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. Around this time last year, there was concern that Luck wouldn’t be ready for the start of training camp due to shoulder surgery. Then the Colts gave everyone false hope that he would be ready to play at some point around midseason. But if you recall the Colts’ handling of the Peyton Manning injury in 2011, you would know that the team wasn’t going to admit to fans that they were prepared to lay down in the fetal position and take it all season. No, they kept Peyton on the active roster until December 18 of the 2011 season. This time around, the Colts put Luck on injured reserve in a timelier manner, but they knew that he wouldn’t play, they just wouldn’t admit it.
The issue with Luck’s lingering injury is that it should have healed by now. Granted, the NFL is not Madden where an injured player promptly heals upon the duration of his injury, but in Luck’s case, something is abnormal. I think it’s safe to say that this is a chronic issue rather than a lingering one. We haven’t heard a whole lot out of Colts camp, and that should make fans worry. The shoulder is not healing, and there’s a chance that it never will. Clearly this is a concern for a guy who needs said shoulder to do his job.
If Luck’s lingering shoulder issue wasn’t too much of a concern, the reports that he will need additional surgery should put any optimism to rest. Luck’s latest procedure will reportedly take up to six months to recover from. In this case, I would guess that a six-month recovery is the absolute minimum, and that in Luck’s case, the recovery process will be much longer. Let us not forget too that this timetable only factors in how long it will take for Luck’s shoulder to heal. That means another offseason without lifting weights, practicing, and throwing. So if this is truly a six-month recovery period where Luck’s shoulder miraculously heals, that simply means that Luck will be healthy but way behind the curve in terms of being an NFL quarterback.
Where Do the Colts Go from Here?
It’s tough to say what the next step is for the Colts. Currently the Colts have the number three spot in the upcoming draft, subject to change obviously. Tanking this season while hoping that Luck got healthy was the best move that this team could’ve hoped for in order to reload a team depleted of blue chip talent, but with Luck’s availability in serious question, the team is in a nightmare scenario. Okay, maybe nightmare is a little strong, but what do you do if you’re the Colts in this case? Scenario 1- The Colts keep both Luck and promising 2nd year pro Jacoby Brissett and draft the pass rusher or offensive tackle that they’ve desperately needed for the good part of this decade. Scenario 2- Keep Luck on the backburner as a possible contingency and draft a quarterback with their 1st Rounder. It’s tough to get a good read on Brissett, he’s been OK but he holds on to the ball way too long and takes too many sacks. This can be chalked up to other factors like his O-Line being terrible and his receivers not getting open, but Brissett has not shown enough to be considered a long term solution at the QB position. This scenario is possible due to the fact that 1st Rounders get paid pennies on the dollar, which would allow the Colts to take a wait and see approach on Luck with his ginormous contract while also being realistic about the situation. The chances of this playing out, however, are very slim. Scenario 3- Cut Luck, swallow the enormous cap penalties, and start over. In this case, the team would have to decide if Brissett is their guy or if they need to draft their guy early in the draft. This scenario is clearly the least desirable, but it might be the best course of action.
Nothing about this situation is pleasant. Luck was the best prospect to come out of college in a long, long time. He was a better prospect that Manning, and he had a more promising start to his career. Luck had his flaws early on, but they paled in comparison to other QBs early on in their careers. He did so much with so little, and this may have proved to be Luck’s fatal flaw. By taking a terrible team to the playoffs his rookie year, Luck brought the Colts too much success too quickly. By making the playoffs in each of his first three years as a pro, the Colts were always drafting at the end of the 1st Round, where premium talent is harder to come by (save for the 2013 Draft which was horrendous). Clearly there were some, let’s call them ill-advised moves by former Colts GM Ryan Grigson. Despite Grigson’s ineptitude, a team drafting in the late 20s of the 1st Round can only get by for so long doing so, save for the damn Patriots who defy logic. Regardless, the team had trouble drafting that pass rusher, or the offensive tackle they’ve sorely needed, thereby putting a huge load on Luck’s shoulders (metaphorical).
This is going to be a hell of an offseason for the Colts. Stay tuned….