Andrew Luck needs premium protection, Colts GM says

  • By Kevin Patra
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Andrew Luck can run the football.

The dynamic quarterback showed as much his rookie season, evidenced by his five touchdown runs -- fourth among quarterbacks behind only Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick.

But Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson doesn't want his franchise quarterback forced to use his legs instead of his laser, rocket arm.

"We have to do a premium job of protecting our quarterback," Grigson said Thursday, per the Indianapolis Star. "He's obviously an outstanding player. We don't need him running for his life. We need him to feel as comfortable as possible."

To that end Grigson revamped the offensive line this offseason. He overpaid for right tackle Gosder Cherilus (a good pass-blocking right tackle) and added left guard Donald Thomas to the starting unit. He also drafted guard Hugh Thornton and center Khaled Holmes to add depth.

Luck was sacked 41 times in 2012, fourth most in the NFL, and avoided many, many more that could have raised that number.

Luck might or might not deserve to be ranked the 23rd best NFL player, but if he is to earn that raking -- and higher ones in the future -- it will be on the strength of his arm, not his feet. Keeping him upright is the entire franchise's goal (if you ask Chicago Bears fans, they'll tell you it's easier said than done).

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.