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Indianapolis Colts

Luck Not Distracted For Denver

Andrew Luck has a football game to play Sunday against an undefeated opponent. All Luck will do is busy himself with a snarling Denver defense.


INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Luck has fashioned a 15-7 starting record by counteracting the tactics of opposing defenses, not by matching up against opposing quarterbacks.

Luck has been asked on occasion about measuring up against his 2012 draft class, and he has built a 3-1 mark against it.  When those questions come as well as those posed when facing other signal-callers, Luck worries only about 11 defenders against whom he competes.

That approach Sunday will help him as Indianapolis meets Denver and the quarterback he succeeded under center.

"We're preparing to play against a very solid Denver defense with good players, with Von Miller coming off the edge, Champ (Bailey), (they've got) studs, studs back there," said Luck.  "From our perspective, our defense will worry about their offense.  Our offense will worry about their defense.  Special teams will worry about each other."

Luck deftly handled questions about sharing the field with Peyton Manning, wishing only to better himself and his offense after a 19-9 Monday setback at San Diego. 

Still, inquiring minds queried him on Manning, the heritage he helped build and the relationship they have that spans back a generation.

"It was a standard of winning," said Luck of Manning's legacy and that of others from 1998-2012.  "I've learned that very quickly from the guys who have been around, that it's a culture of winning. 

"It's something I think Mr. Irsay created, something that Coach Pagano is a believer in.  I'm glad to be a part of a team that has a culture of winning and getting to the playoffs."

Luck's 15 victories are the most earned in 21 games by a quarterback taken first overall since 1970. 

He came to Indianapolis declaring he never considered comparing himself with Manning, who was 141-67 as a regular-season starter for the Colts.  That approach remains firm 17 months later.     

"I never viewed it as replacing Peyton," said Luck.  "I just viewed it as an opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL.  It just so happens one of the greats of all-time was here before me."

Chuck Pagano came on board before Luck's arrival and having contested Manning during previous NFL stints.  Pagano never addressed the topic of a newcomer succeeding a legendary player.

"Never discussed it, never had to with Andrew," said Pagano.  "We all know how Andrew is wired and how he is.  We never went down that road.  Certainly Andrew respects (Manning) as much as anybody else, understood whose shoes he was filling and all those type of things.  It wasn't a matter of having any long, lengthy sit-downs about that.

"It is what it is.  Andrew being Andrew, wired the way that he is, obviously to this point has handled that with flying colors."

Sunday promises to be an emotional day in Lucas Oil Stadium for fans.  Luck wanted no part of trying to guess what will be on Manning's mind as the pre-game atmosphere unfolds.  He will be dealing with his own normal emotions that go with every competitive Sunday.

Needing a win against an unbeaten team to avoid consecutive losses for the first time in his career and for a number of teammates as well, Luck says there is no issue having the proper mindset. 

"I don't think there's any problem for anybody keeping focused," said Luck.  "It's a football game.  We're not ignorant.  We know who's coming to town. 

"We know it's a great football team and a great challenge for us, a great opportunity for us.  I don't think there will be any problem keeping focus this week."

Luck was a three-time participant at the Manning Passing Academy while growing up.  It allowed him to meet the family personally, including Archie Manning, who was a teammate of Oliver Luck with the Houston Oilers.

"I had an opportunity to go to his camp when I was in eighth grade, then as a college counselor for a couple of years in school," said Luck.  "That was very fun and a great way to meet Peyton and Eli and talk to Archie.  There was that link between our fathers. 

"He's (Peyton) always been very helpful and kind.   They're such a classy family.  It's fun to know them."

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