A jittery Andrew Luck, by his own admission, did not play "very well" in Monday night's preseason tilt versus the Baltimore Ravens. The performance was a reminder that the chemistry and magic won't return simply by osmosis after more than a year away from football.
While the stats are pedestrian -- 6-of-13 passing for 50 yards, an interception and two sacks -- and he continues to take easy throws, not showing off the deep ball or sideline darts, there were flashes of the old Luck.
Perhaps the biggest test the 28-year-old can pass this preseason is getting hit and popping back up. Particularly encouraging was Luck landing on his right elbow during a sack by Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs.
"I told someone after the game, 'I'm sort of happy to get sacked by Suggs, a legit sack,'" Luck said after the game, via ESPN's Mike Wells. "I landed on my right elbow sort of reminiscent of how I injured my shoulder a couple of years ago [in Week 3 of the 2015 season]. I didn't feel anything. Didn't give it a second thought. That's a big deal for me, being able to lose that thought bubble."
While the Colts looked "sloppy" Monday night, first-year head coach Frank Reich was satisfied with Luck taking the next step in his return.
"We turned the ball over, [and] my experience tells me that protection at times was not great," Reich said. "We just didn't find a rhythm for him. I felt maybe there were one or two throws that weren't his best throws, but overall, it's usually not as bad as you think or as good as you think. Still have a confidence in a direction we're headed offensively."
More important for Luck than stats or preseason performances are how his body and shoulder holds up after each day of work.
"I'm very, very encouraged," Luck said. "How I feel. I feel great."
Fans will be more encouraged after seeing Luck finally uncork a difficult downfield throw for the first time in a game in 2018.