WESTFIELD, Ind. — Andrew Luck's first warmup toss of the day was greeted with loud cheers from the crowd Thursday afternoon at Grand Park Sports Campus.
What would usually be classified as a mundane moment any other day had a little deeper meaning on Thursday, however, as the fans at the Indianapolis Colts' new training camp home were able to witness Luck's first full return to the practice field in more than a year and a half.
Luck's day, as one might imagine, had its ups and its downs as he began the process of knocking off the rust. But, overall, head coach Frank Reich thought his quarterback had a "good day" of work that set a strong foundation moving forward.
"Solid day — in windy conditions," Reich told reporters after Thursday's practice. "Thought he looked strong, consistent. It was a good first day for him."
In all, Luck threw 19 passes during the team's 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills, completing 11 of them. His best moment came during the first 11-on-11 period, when he drew in the defense on a playaction handoff to Josh Ferguson, which allowed tight end Eric Ebron to break out wide open at the numbers along the left side of the field, where he was delivered an on-target pass and ran for about a 20 or 25-yard gain.
On the very next play, Luck got the defense to bite for an offsides penalty.
"It was really good. Just being under center, running team periods, making plays, seeing him hit the big play to Ebron, taking control of the huddle, making some checks at the line of scrimmage — doing what he does," Reich said. "And you could see it in his demeanor, you could see it in his eyes working through progressions. Looked sharp."
But Luck didn't go without a couple mistakes here and there on Thursday. The most noteworthy mishap came on an underthrown fade pass towards tight end Erik Swoope that landed in the hands of rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, who made a nice play to come down with the pick.
Had Luck been able to lead Swoope a little more on the throw, it very well could've been an easy touchdown.
It was just one of many moments on Thursday where Luck and Reich — who logged 14 years of experience as an NFL quarterback, himself — were able to give each other some instant feedback on what worked, and what didn't.
That'll be crucial as Reich, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and Luck continue to figure out their brand new offensive scheme.
"It's a little bit of everything," Reich said of his on-field chats with Luck during practice. "Some of it might be technique-related, some of it sometimes is just a play or two, an idea; sometimes he'll say, 'Hey, when we do that again, we can think of this,' 'We hit that one time, let's hit this the next time.' So it's a little bit of everything."
The overall feeling, however, is one of excitement and optimism for Luck, who, according to Reich, will likely practice again tomorrow, but isn't expected to participate in Saturday's first fully-padded session of camp.
But Luck is expected to be back on the practice field — in full pads — with his teammates on Sunday.
"There's no doubt in my mind that even though today was a good day that it's just going to continue to get better," Reich said of Luck. "You learn every time you go out there that's the whole mentality, so he'll be like the rest of the guys and get better."
2018 Training Camp - Day One - WALK THRU