INDIANAPOLIS – No matter how much the media picks and prods at when Andrew Luck will be ready to go in 2017, the Colts are not budging in revealing any timetable.
Chris Ballard reiterated that point on Saturday morning, just before the final day of the 2017 NFL Draft got underway.
"No pressure on Andrew," Ballard said. "I want to do what's right for Andrew Luck and his career. We're not going to force Andrew Luck to put a timetable on him and say, 'You have to be back by this time.' No. This is a team game and it's our job to put enough around him and find a way to get it done when he gets back in the mix.
"If he's not ready right away, then we'll keep moving forward but we're not going to put a timetable or force him. As for him not practicing, you ought to watch him compete every day in rehab. I mean this dude works, he works. I'm watching him work like crazy. He's starting to get good motion in his arm. And it's been fun to watch."
The Colts will return to their offseason program on Monday, with the start of Phase Two.
Players can begin individual work on the field, with OTAs (offense vs. defense team activities) starting on May 22.
On Saturday, Ballard stood behind the notion that he sees potential with this current offensive line, while also acknowledging the vital need to clean up the hits on Luck.
"I'm aware of it. I think everybody in this building's aware of it," Ballard said of the abnormal number of hits Luck has taken in five seasons. "I think everybody in the building understands that we need to do things better to help protect Andrew."
Here are some other tidbits that Ballard shared on Saturday, including an update on David Parry, the outlook for the offensive line and more insight to the pick of Malik Hooker:
- Ballard has made it clear he wants to add speed, athleticism in rebuilding this defense: "The good thing is if we can get to where we are just in the middle of the pack defensively right now, we've got a chance to take another step. Athletic ability and speed cover up mistakes. When you can bring guys with talent into the building – athletic ability, speed, some type of upside – and our coaching staff can bring that talent to light, it's always going to look better on Sunday. It covers up your mistakes. When one guy makes a mistake, a guy on the backside because he's running and has speed, can cover up some mistakes."
- For now, Ballard sees Joe Haeg as a guard and Le'Raven Clark at tackle: "Ryan (Grigson) did a great job last year really identifying some young players in the draft, especially on the O-line. As we all saw in this draft, I'm glad he did because this is probably one of the weakest drafts I've ever seen on the offensive line. Playing as a unit is the most important thing on that group. It's not always about one player. It's about those five guys playing together and then matching that with your scheme to make them work. Would we like to add a little bit more there? Yes, we would. Sometimes it just doesn't work out that and you've got to work around it. You've got to find ways to work around it."
- On why Ballard believes all the safeties on the roster will have some role come game day: "It's a nickel league, it's a sub-down league. I mean, 65 percent of the snaps are in sub-package personnel. To me, that's what you're drafting for, you're trying to draft for sub-down personnel."
- On why Malik Hooker was the guy at No. 15 overall: "Takes the ball away. Guy that takes the ball away. That's a unique trait to find. Those are hard guys to find. Go get the ball. It's all about the ball. That's what this is about. The more times we can get our offense the ball, the more shots we have to score. So, that will always be a big thing."
- On keeping David Parry on the roster and letting him compete for a roster spot: "You've been around David. Good young man, smart. Made a knucklehead, young man mistake. He was sitting on my doorstep two days later, like a puppy. I don't know (about a league discipline). Who knows what they'll do."
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