Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

September 10, 2013

OK out of the pocket

Luck's ability to scramble pays dividends for Colts

(Continued)

“It could be somewhat demoralizing for a defense in a sense. And if you can break a tackle or maybe sidestep something and get the ball out to a receiver, it makes a difference.”

During training camp, coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton were somewhat adamant that they would prefer Luck stay in the pocket and leave the job of carrying the football to the team’s three running backs.

But Pagano and Hamilton are realists, too. They know that good things usually happen when their quarterback has the ball in his hands. And Pagano, as a former defensive coordinator, understands what it does to a defense to have to account for a quarterback who can run.

It’s safe to say that he appreciates Luck’s abilities to make people miss.

“It’s pretty good. You can ask Oakland,” he said Monday. “But the guy is a pro-style, drop-back, pocket passer. He’s got all the arm talent in the world. All the smarts. All the instincts. All that stuff.

“But if things open up and people play tight coverage on you and there’s no where to go with the ball, instinctively that’s what you’re going to do. And he’s athletic enough, he’s big enough and he’s strong enough to do exactly what did he [Sunday]. But we’re not running read option with him. We don’t have designed quarterback runs for Andrew.”

And, yes, the Colts do instruct Luck that if he does decide to run with the ball, get the first down and then slide down or get out of bounds. Pagano, though, understands that there will be times — during the heat of a game — those instructions are momentarily forgotten.

“When you’re playing football, you’re not thinking. It’s instincts. Instincts take over. He’s an instinctive football player. Certainly we knew coming out of college that he did it a heck of a lot more than he’s doing it at this level. He understands why he can’t do it at this level. He’s a smart guy,” Pagano added.

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