One of the things that the Indianapolis Colts’ trade with the New York Jets proved on Saturday is that they remain confident that quarterback Andrew Luck will be healthy next season.
Why else would they have traded back from No. 3 to No. 6 in next month’s draft, which features as many as four quarterbacks who could be selected in the top five? The Colts likely would have stayed put at No. 3 if there were legitimate concerns about Luck’s health.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard was as adamant as he’s been about Luck’s health at the NFL combine last month, when he said he believes his franchise quarterback will be ready for the 2018 season.
“Do I have any doubt that he’s going to be ready? No, I don’t,” Ballard said at the time.
Through all the front-office, coaching and roster changes the Colts have made in the past 14 months, the key for the organization continues to be Luck’s ability to be healthy.
The desire to cut corners caught up to the Colts when Luck’s body started breaking down in 2015. He has missed 26 games in the past three seasons and it’s likely no coincidence that the Colts missed the playoffs in all three of those seasons.
The Colts — and Luck — have had their sights on the quarterback playing in 2018. It started when they shut him down after continued soreness following a cortisone shot last October. It continued when he spent six weeks rehabbing in the Netherlands. Then there were the comments by Ballard and Luck, saying he won’t need a second shoulder surgery. Luck spent several weeks in Southern California working with throwing coaches to regain the form in his surgically repaired right shoulder.
The plan, barring any kind of setback in the next three weeks, is for Luck to take part in the team’s offseason workouts beginning April 9.
Having Luck healthy is only part of the equation for the Colts in the four months before the start of training camp. It’s up to Ballard to put better pieces, especially on the offensive line, around Luck, and having nine draft picks should help.
It might be easier to list the positions in which the Colts don’t need help because they need upgrades on the offensive and defensive lines and at middle linebacker, defensive back and receiver.
One position they don’t need to worry about addressing — today, at least — is quarterback.