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Chuck Pagano Concerned About Number Of Sacks On Andrew Luck

Intro: With the Colts offensive line entering a second straight healthy week, have they found their starting unit to protect Andrew Luck better going forward?


INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano knows the numbers and he doesn't like them.

Following the Colts' 29-23 victory in Week Five, Pagano watched his quarterback dazzle fans inside of Lucas Oil Stadium by extending plays that were necessary for win No. 2.

The protection against the Bears held up for a high percentage of Andrew Luck's drop backs, allowing him to lead seven scoring drives and throw for 322 yards.

Pagano also saw Luck get sacked five times.

That was squarely on the head coach's mind.

"We were 15 (sacks) going into the game and now another five, it's obviously a big concern for all of us," Pagano said of the 20 sacks allowed in five games this season.

"That's something obviously we will continue to work on and we have to be better."

After five weeks of 2016, Luck has been sacked the second most of any NFL quarterback. The 40 quarterback hits on Luck are also the second highest in the league.

It's remarkable that given the amount of hits on Luck this season, the Colts still have scored the 7th most points in the NFL.

Plus, the Colts are putting up those points without their second best receiver (Donte Moncrief) for more than 75 percent of the season.

While the protection around Luck hasn't been as consistent as it needs to be in 2016, the quarterback says he burdens some of the responsibility.

"Again, I have said this before, I don't think the sacks are necessarily indicative of how well our offensive line is playing," Luck says.

"You can probably blame me for holding the ball too long."

Stats do indicate that Luck holds the ball longer than the majority of NFL quarterbacks.

Luck's ability to make plays after several seconds is also one of his most coveted traits.

Center Ryan Kelly is part of an offensive line group with a second-year player to his right (Denzelle Good) and a fellow rookie out at right tackle (Joe Haeg).

The rookie center assures that the communication is strong across the unit.

"We are on the right guys," Kelly says, "but we just need to keep it more firm up front.

"There's no secret recipe to pass blocking. It's definitely the hardest thing to do as part of our job, but it's part of our job description to keep the quarterback clean."

In 2016, the Colts have significantly improved the offensive line talent up front.

Drafting four linemen is a rare occurrence in the NFL.

The current makeup of the starters up front includes four starters 25 or younger (the other starter is 28-year-old left tackle Anthony Castonzo).

Earlier this week, Pagano stressed the need to build the cohesion for that young core while also keeping the pocket structure together a little longer.

"We've got to be better," Pagano says of the pass protection.

"We've got to get it corrected and we've got to play better in certain situations, but there is improvement and there will continue to be improvement."

Game highlights from the Colts win over the Bears.

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