INDIANAPOLIS –While Tuesday marked the end of training camp practices for the Colts, Thursday night's game with Cincinnati draws the curtain to a full close as the regular season approaches.
Andrew Luck has opened each of the three preseason games so far, hitting 40-of-64 passes for 514 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
He has led the club to scores on seven-of-16 possessions (six touchdowns, one field goal) and feels the chance to get even more ready for league play is important on Thursday.
"I think any game experience is incredibly helpful for me right now, just be out there and (address) the lack of real NFL game experience," said Luck. "Hopefully, (I'll) take advantage of some game experience. I'd like to put a touchdown or a couple of touchdowns on the board, however many drives I'm out there. Try and be a productive offense."
Last week was a difficult go for the offense at Washington. Two early sacks and a penalty contributed to a rough night, one where there was a higher volume of pocket pressure than before. The rushing attack virtually stalled as well as the team averaged 2.0 yards on 27 attempts. It was a learning moment for a young offense.
"It's tough to be a good offense if you're committing penalties, if you're taking sacks, if you're putting yourself behind the eight-ball on a drive. I think that showed (last week)," said Luck. "You get a couple of first downs, then you get a penalty, you get a sack. It's hard to convert third-and-long. It's much easier to convert third-and-medium, third-and-short. If we can stay ahead of the curve in that department, I think we'll be alright."
Luck has gone into competition with two rookie tight ends, a rookie running back and an offensive line that still is gelling into form, despite missing starting guard Mike McGlynn. Players still are getting used to the attack.
"I think it's continually improving. I would say no one is 100 percent, except maybe B.A. (Bruce Arians). That's the nature of it," said Luck. "I think we'll learn as this season goes along. I'm sure we have 14-year NFL quarterback veterans who are learning as their season goes on. I think we'll all try to be sponges and soak up everything that's said, whether it's day one of OTAs, mini-camp or the last preseason game."
Luck has seen some formidable defenses in Pittsburgh and Washington in the past two games. Cincinnati's unit under coordinator Mike Zimmer is known for its aggressive and creative nature. It will present a tough final exam for Indianapolis before the opener.
"Coach (Mike) Zimmer has a great track record, a great history, and the Bengals have a great defense," said Luck. "It will be a good test for us. I do think you have to be aware of when they're bringing pressure, how many guys that are coming. You can't sit back there all day, even if you do block it up. You realize it's a blitz and someone will get there eventually.
"I think it's great to see a variety of defenses and pressures and blitzes because it's a long season. The more you see in the preseason, the better off you will be to start the year."
Head Coach Chuck Pagano has not decided how long his front-line units will play. Pagano would like to see a high note hit as preseason closes to help the confidence leading into league action.
"I think it's really important. It's all about confidence," said Pagano. "Everybody can chalk it up and say it's the last preseason game, but guys still want to play well. You want to leave with a great taste in your mouth. … I want the guys to play well. We want to have success on Thursday, and we'd love to go win that football game leading up to the season opener with Chicago."
Luck agrees with his field leader and is focused on his handle of the offense, too.
"I think it's good," said Luck of ending on a positive note. "I think sometimes confidence may get over-rated. It's a little more about competence and trying to figure out what's going on. It will be nice if we can have a positive ending to whatever drives I'm in on and then a positive end to the game."
COLTS MAKE ROSTER MOVE – On Tuesday, Indianapolis claimed wide receiver Kashif Moore off waivers from Cincinnati. Indianapolis placed wide receiver Jarred Fayson on waived-injured. If unclaimed, Fayson will go on injured reserve.
Moore, 5-9, 180, went undrafted out of Connecticut before signing with Cincinnati on May 2, 2012. At Connecticut, Moore played in 50-of-51 games (32 starts) over four seasons, totaling 126 catches for 1,699 yards and 13 touchdowns.
OLIVER LUCK CITED – Former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for his alma mater, West Virginia, has been selected to join the NFL's Player Safety Advisory Panel.
Co-chaired by Pro Football Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and John Madden, the Player Safety Advisory Panel was formed two years ago by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to assist the league in reviewing all facets of the game involving player health and safety.
"It is a real honor to have been asked to participate as a member of the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel," said Luck, who is the father of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. "I would like to thank the co-chairs, John Madden and Ronnie Lott, for the opportunity, and I look forward to making a positive contribution to the work of the panel."
Luck was a second-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers in 1982 and spent five years with the franchise.
The panel of former NFL players, coaches and one former general manager provides recommendations to Commissioner Goodell on a variety of safety-related football matters, while taking a long-term view towards making the game safer for all players at every level of the sport.
Other members of the committee are Ernie Accorsi, Antonio Freeman, Patrick Kerney, Willie Lanier, Steve Mariucci and Anthony Munoz.
Areas of focus for the Player Safety Advisory Panel include developing proactive, substantive recommendations to promote the safety of all participants in the game; reviewing playing rules, techniques, strategies, training methods, safety-related studies and equipment standards;
communicating with NFL players and coaches to gather information and gain a greater insight into how the game is being played; reviewing game video to study trends and techniques; promoting safe and successful playing techniques.