Questions about Andrew Luck's arm strength predictably continued this week after the Indianapolis Colts quarterback was replaced byJacoby Brissett for a failed Hail Mary attempt in Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
After coach Frank Reich dismissed concerns about Luck's velocity earlier in the week, Wednesday marked the quarterback's turn to toss cold water on any hot takes.
"I know I'm at a level where I can make all the throws, and I feel confident I'm going out there with my full arsenal. I don't think there's anything physically holding me back," Luck said, via the Indy Star.
Luck is averaging 5.5 air yards per pass attempt through three weeks, lowest among qualifying quarterbacks, per Next Gen Stats. Of course, air-yards aren't an end-all-be-all. Drew Brees is averaging just 6.8 air-yards per attempt and no one would question his arm or production.
"The [deep passing game] can get better. It can definitely get better," Luck said. "We could probably look back and say if we had a couple more chunks in the first few games, maybe that would swing the tide in a way. But that's probably the truth of looking back at any game. Hindsight is 20-20. So we'll work on it. I'll work on it. Guys up front, too. Wide outs will make sure when those opportunities do present themselves, that we're making the plays."
The Colts' dink-and-dunk offense isn't just on the quarterback. With an injured offensive line, Reich employed a plan to get the ball out quick and protect his quarterback through three weeks. Luck has missed a few deep shots, and his targets also suffered drops.
The unknown question about Luck is whether the lack of success down is due to arm strength that isn't quite all the way back yet. He's underthrown a few deep shots (some resulting in penalties), and his velocity on long sideline throws isn't where it could be. There could also be lingering questions about whether the QB trusts his arm to unleash those types of throws.
We don't have enough information yet to form a conclusion on those questions.
Houston has also been picked apart by quick-strike offenses. The Texans' defense has been among the worst in the NFL defending passes less than 10 air yards, allowing the third highest yards per attempt (7.0), third highest comp percent (80.6), and sixth highest passer rating (105.4).
The issues surrounding Luck in the Colts offense, coupled with the opponent suggest there likely will not be a definitive an answer to the deep-ball question this week.