WESTFIELD, Ind. — Indianapolis Colts football is officially back in exactly one week.
The Colts open up their four-game 2018 preseason slate on the road Aug. 9, when they travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks.
With a ton of new names both on the roster as well as on first-year head coach Frank Reich's staff, the game against the Seahawks will be the Colts' first opportunity to see just where they are in a number of areas as they continue to get ready for the regular season.
But perhaps the area that will be under the microscope the most will be at the quarterback position, where Andrew Luck is expected to log his first game action since Jan. 1, 2017, when he led the Colts to a 24-20 season-ending victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium.
After undergoing surgery to his throwing shoulder and missing the entire 2017 season, Luck has looked sharp so far in five training camp practices at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind., but the natural next step in his progression will be how he responds to an actual game setting without the benefit of a non-contact red jersey.
While preseason openers oftentimes feature teams' starting units playing a series or two, head coach Frank Reich has expressed his desire to see Luck play a little bit more than the norm against the Seahawks, due to the fact he hasn't actually taken the field in so long.
And on Thursday, we learned via The Monday Morning Quarterback's Albert Breer that Reich is planning on Luck playing with the starters for "about a quarter."
"The plan is to play him a little bit more than he would normally would if he'd had a normal year last year," Reich told Breer. "But I don't want to overreact. He'll get enough snaps in, we'll recreate enough out here in practice by the way we practice and the speed at which we practice, and all the situational stuff we practice. We'll build a confidence lever there. And sure, he needs to get his snaps, and maybe a little bit more. But I'm not gonna be dramatic with it."
Luck's shoulder, he says, is responding well to a four-day-a-week throwing program that mimics a regular season workload as much as possible.
He was asked on Sunday about his participation in the preseason opener — and what he hopes to get out of it — but he wants to remain focused on his day-to-day work. When the Seahawks game is his next hurdle come one week from today, however, Luck will be up for the challenge.
"Every day there will be new hurdles," Luck said. "That's exciting. It is exciting to me."