Luck criticised by Pagano after surprise loss to New York Jets

Jay Asser 09:24 23/09/2015
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Troubling times: Andrew Luck (c).

Andrew Luck’s turnover issues left Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano frustrated as the team suffered its second straight loss to begin the NFL season.

Instead of compensating for the Colts’ general shortcomings – as he’s done so often in his four-year career – Luck has only exacerbated them so far this campaign.

Following an upset defeat to Buffalo in Week 1, Indianapolis were dismantled 20-7 by the New York Jets in their home opener – Luck to blame for four of the Colts’ five turnovers.

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Normally protective of his players, Pagano was clearly upset with Luck’s performance and placed much of the blame for the loss on his quarterback’s burly shoulders.

“He’s got to take care of the football,” Pagano said following the loss. “Make great decisions, take care of the football. It’s not that hard. It’s not trigonometry.”

While Luck’s decision-making was questionable, his offensive line struggled to protect him. Even though Luck wasn’t sacked, the Jets registered 11 quarterback hits, including on each of his three drop-backs where he was intercepted.

Pagano, however, dismissed the offensive line’s shaky play as an excuse for Luck, while perhaps also subtly criticising general manager Ryan Grigson for not improving the personnel responsible for protecting the franchise quarterback.

“That’s been the case for three years now, has it not?” Pagano asked, referring to Luck’s handling of constant pressure from pass rushers. “He should be more than comfortable dealing with what he’s dealing with. We’ve got to get it fixed.”

Pagano’s comments came after rumours surfaced of a rift between the coach and Grigson.

If Pagano is taking a veiled shot at Grigson, he has a point considering Luck has been the leader in quarterback knockdowns (hits plus sacks) each of the past three seasons, according to Football Outsiders.

Luck, up until this season, has still managed to put up Pro Bowl numbers despite being under duress, but his carelessness with the ball has hindered Indianapolis.

The Colts, however, also lost their first two contests last season only to rebound with 11 wins in their next 14 games to claim the AFC South and reach the AFC Championship Game.

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