INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When trying to get a firm grip on what to expect from the Indianapolis Colts offense in the Sept. 11 season opener against Detroit, it appears we’re going to have to take a leap of faith.
Or at least have faith in Andrew Luck.
“I know we’re going to score a lot of points with this offense,’’ he said Monday. “We’ve got playmakers. We’ve got guys that can get the ball in the end zone.’’
Based on what? Certainly not the preseason.
At the risk of placing too much importance on anything that occurs when games don’t matter – other than injuries, of course – it’s worth pointing out the No. 1 offense didn’t exactly distinguish itself in limited work against the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles. The Luck-led offense:
- Handled seven series that consisted of 50 plays and 235 total yards. It failed to find the end zone and generated just a pair of Adam Vinatieri field goals. That includes a first-and-goal at the 9 on the first possession against the Ravens that stalled when running back Robert Turbin was penalized for a false start.
- Was hardly efficient. Turbin’s hiccup was a precursor. Of the seven possessions, five were marred by a penalty, a sack (three at the hands of the Eagles) or a lost fumble by tight end Dwayne Allen.
- Was tidy enough in the passing game as Luck completed 80.8 percent of his passes (21-of-26), but it was style over substance. The offense was just 2-of-7 on third-down conversions and Luck averaged a modest 9.8 yards per completion. His longest completion was a 26-yarder to Donte Moncrief against the Eagles.
- Got zilch done in the running game. On those seven drives, backs managed 36 yards on 17 carries. Luck scrambled three times for 14 yards. Yes, it was preseason, but the offensive line did little to assuage concerns.
Yet Luck remains upbeat, as he must.
“I wouldn’t say concerned,’’ he replied when asked about the lack of touchdowns. “Disappointing.
“We’ll keep chipping away in practice and we’ll be alright.’’
It’s debatable whether that’s possible until the offensive line regains its health.
The magnetic resonance imaging test on the knee of left guard Jack Mewhort was negative, and he is expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks, not the entire season as was initially feared. Right tackle Joe Reitz remains day-to-day with a back issue while rookie Joe Haeg still is dealing with an injury to his right ankle.
For now, it appears backup center Jon Harrison fills in for Mewhort.
“It’s never ideal,’’ Luck said, “but we probably have this conversation three times a year in the four years I’ve been here. It’s part of football, it really is. That’s why you have depth.’’
Coach Chuck Pagano expressed at least moderate concern for the offense; the sacks, the penalties, the failing to finish drives.
“I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that everything’s going to be OK,’’ he said. “We have to execute. We’ve got to communicate. We’ve got to make plays and we’ve got to put the ball in the end zone.’’
Opportunity for Ridley:
The Colts represent the fourth stop in six years for running back Stevan Ridley after stints with the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Detroit Lions.
“A great opportunity, and I can’t take that for granted, man,’’ he said Monday, two days after signing a one-year contract at the veteran’s minimum of a non-guaranteed $760,000. “The Lord works in mysterious ways and to come over here and be part of a team that has a lot going . . . feels good.’’
Ridley, 27, was released by the Lions last week – he described it as a “pit stop’’ – and went through a workout with the Colts Friday. They liked what they saw, but Pagano seemed to indicate Ridley was given no assurances of making the 53-player roster.
“We saw a really good football player that was available,’’ he said. “He was in great shape and so we said, ‘You know what? Let’s kick the tires, take him for a spin and see what happens.’’’
Ridley will have little time to make an impression on whether he’s a viable depth option for Frank Gore. The Colts close the preseason Thursday at Cincinnati and the final cut to 53 is Saturday.
“I can’t learn it all overnight,’’ Ridley said. “No mission is really impossible, so I’ve got to pace myself and take it day-to-day and try to get better every day. That’s all I can do right now. It’s too early to tell you my role.’’
Ridley insisted he’s fully recovered after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in October 2014. Prior to that, he rushed for 1,263 yards in 2012 and 773 yards in ’13 with the Patriots.
“One hundred percent, man,’’ Ridley said. “I really can say that the knee’s not a problem. If you let the others tell the story, you probably think that. But my knee’s fine. Had great doctors, great rehab.
“I’ve really just been waiting on an opportunity to show what I can do. I’m still the same player I was.’’
Pagano offered a wide-ranging and vague update on the team’s injury situation, but one might be worth heeding. Allen was held out his second practice in the past week due to a sore hip.
Allen was on the field for 21 plays against the Eagles, then experienced soreness, “so we held him out (Monday),’’ Pagano said.
Allen, signed to a four-year, $29 million contract in March, missed the final 15 games of the 2013 season and required surgery after injuring his right hip against the Oakland Raiders in the season opener.
Pagano hopes cornerback D’Joun Smith is able to play against the Bengals, but an ankle injury makes that uncertain.
“Not much we can do about it,’’ he said. “All we can control is what he’s doing today and he’s rehabbing.
“Hopefully we get him back before the end of the week. Maybe he gets out on the field, maybe he doesn’t’’
The team released tight end Konrad Reuland and waived wide receiver Daniel Anthrop, offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin and running back Trey Williams.