ANDERSON, Ind. – A daily highlight of training camp for fans is watching Andrew Luck loft deep passes to T.Y. Hilton or finding Donte Moncrief or Phillip Dorsett on crossing routes.
What figures to have more impact on Luck – and the Indianapolis Colts – bouncing back from a forgettable 2015 occurs when he, Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris work with quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer on an adjacent practice field.
It’s repetitive and technique-driven. It’s focusing on footwork, properly back-pedaling from under center, paying attention to how the football is positioned as the quarterback drops back and scans the field or begins to scramble.
“It has been back-to-basics,’’ Luck said Friday. “Footwork, ground-up certainly. Some habits, like anything, are hard to kick in a sense and some come a little faster than others.
“But again, that’s why you practice. That’s why you do individual. That’s why you do drill-work during special teams. That’s why you focus on feet before anything else. (Schottenheimer) does a great job of not just telling you, ‘Alright, you need to do this.’ There’s a drill involved in helping get that done. There’s a technique involved that he teaches you, and not just me, but the rest of the quarterbacks as well.’’
Luck stressed Schottenheimer isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel in his first year with the team. He isn’t attempting to do a major makeover with how Luck plays the position.
“No, it’s a refinement of a lot of things,’’ he said. “The fundamentals of dropping back, by and large, are the same. It’s a refinement. For example, marrying your feet to a certain play. It’s learning what sort of sequence of drop marries this this play versus that coverage.’’
Coach Chuck Pagano noted the technique refinement includes addressing ball security. In 61 career games, including the playoffs, Luck has fumbled 32 times, losing 17.
“He’s always done a nice job of it, but there’s a heightened sense of urgency as far as keeping (the ball) seated up here (holding it high) and not loose and having two hands on it,’’ Pagano said. “Guys start to escape and they have to extend plays, a lot of those guys will have that ball sitting right down here (by the waist).
“It’s hard enough keeping it from the strip-sack when you’ve got it up here (high), but he’s doing a nice job with that.’’
Weather or not
Mother Nature interrupted Friday’s afternoon practice. However, after lightning strikes shortly after 2:15 sent the team indoors, players returned to the practice fields a short time later.
The importance of getting in their first full-pads practice is obvious. After Friday, there are only five scheduled practices before the Aug. 7 preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers in Canton, Ohio.
The team signed free-agent tight end Nick Truesdell and waived tight end Mike Miller from the non-football injury list.
Wide receiver Brian Tyms left practice early. Trainers subsequently wrapped his rib area.