INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The pairing is intriguing to the former accomplished backup quarterback and current franchise quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.
That would be Frank Reich, the long-time understudy who’s settling into his new role as first-time head coach.
And that would be Andrew Luck, the face of the franchise who’s hoping to regain his Pro Bowl form after missing last season with his right shoulder issues.
During Tuesday’s introductory press conference at Lucas Oil Stadium, Reich revealed he only had a cursory relationship with his new QB. They first met last year on the campus of Stanford during another player’s workout.
“I’ve had the greatest admiration for him as a player,’’ Reich said. “I think to have such a supremely talented player with such strong character and such great humility and such a team-first guy is rare and I couldn’t be more happy about working with the prospect.
“He is magical. He has special, unique traits and abilities that I respect as much as anybody, and I can’t wait to work with him.’’
Luck returned the favor during a Thursday interview with Colts.com. He’s aware of Reich’s playing career – 13 seasons and 132 appearances, 110 off the bench – and coaching career. The list of quarterbacks Reich has worked with includes Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
While an accomplished backup for nine seasons in Buffalo, he worked alongside Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.
“You can learn something from everybody, and certainly our history shapes so much of how we think and (our) thought process,’’ Luck said. “And I’m really excited to hear his thought process and how he did it as a player and how he’s seen other players do it, and how he’s done it as a coach.
“I think that could have a very positive impact on our team.’’
Reich revealed the Colts’ offense will be multiple, attacking, up-tempo.
Again, Luck approves. In 2014, he led the NFL in touchdown passes with 40 and set a franchise record with 4,761 yards. In 2016 and while dealing with his shoulder issues, Luck passed for 4,240 yards and 31 TDs while completing a career-best 63.5 percent of his attempts.
“That sounds great,’’ he said. “I know all the best offenses that I’ve been a part of in my career we’ve not been static and we’ve attacked. And I’m sure he’ll have a great flavor and we’ll involve as many people as we can, and attacking defenses is what it’s all about.’’
But first things first. And that involves Luck’s on-going rehab from surgery on his right shoulder that forced him to miss all of last season. He is on the West Coast working with throwing specialists Tom House and Adam Dedeaux.
General manager Chris Ballard wasn’t able to offer an update on Luck’s progress earlier this week. The previous week, he said Luck was focusing on his arm speed and throwing motion and throwing a ball, but not a football.
“Chris gave the update last week,’’ Reich said. “That’s the update that I got and that’s all I needed.’’
In late December, Luck insisted he would be ready for when the Colts reported to their offseason conditioning program in early April.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.