Luck has put together 300-plus-yard passing games and led late fourth-quarter scoring drives in Indianapolis' first two home contests. He's looked fearless in the pocket despite a subpar offensive line. Still, the Colts quarterback has shown up on the injury report often with his right shoulder in question, and is drawing ire from the man upstairs.
Unsettled by the way Luck has thrown his body -- unnecessarily, the owner argues -- into harm's way, Irsay wants to keep a good thing going with his prized asset.
"He has to change the way he plays, only because it's just natural that he is not a 22-year-old kid at Stanford who could play tight end or quarterback," Irsay said in London on Saturday, per ESPN. "He has to understand -- and he learned from the Denver game -- the importance of staying on the field. I think honing his game is the key. There isn't any sort of chronic shoulder injury or something like that."
The play that irks Irsay is Luck's ill-advised and poor tackle attempt on Aqib Talib after the Broncos cornerback clinched Denver's Week 2 win with a pick-six in the fourth quarter. Instead of waiting for Talib to reach him, Luck charged out of the pocket, past unassuming defensive lineman and dove unsuccessfully at Talib's legs. Luck's shoulder collided with an offensive lineman, likely causing Irsay to wince in his owner's box.
"Look, (Luck) throws the interception, he's mad, I know," Irsay continued. "Do what Peyton (Manning) did. Do a little fox trot and you don't embarrass yourself. But you stay out of the fray. You don't see Aaron Rodgers (do it). You don't see quarterbacks get involved in those types of frays. That's when tough things happen.
"Again, I look for great things to happen (with Luck). Andrew is at the point of his career where he's honing his game, where he's dealing with 'How do I keep myself as healthy as I can,' and 'How do I deal with limiting the turnovers,' because Peyton learned eventually how important it was to not turn it over and to be able to stay on the field and stay healthy. I feel he's doing that in a good way. He's ready to go."
Luck is undoubtedly the top quarterback in a young, crowded AFC South, so it's hard to fault Irsay for wanting to be cautious with his former first overall pick, especially with Luck's injury history -- Luck missed much of last year with a lacerated kidney. However, asking him to play with less aggression despite being surrounded by one of the least physical offenses in the league is a hollow request.
All quarterbacks should be mindful of the wear and tear to which they submit themselves, but fault for Luck's potential deterioration lies not only with him, but with a shoddy roster and management of that roster.