INDIANAPOLIS –A quarterback in the NFL often has to shake off a bad play to make another.
Sometimes it is greater than that at the toughest position in sports. A quarterback has to shake off a game that did not go as well as planned and get ready for the next fight.
That has been the case with Andrew Luck this week, and he never has met a challenge from which he backed down. Luck's current mindset is to find the usual positive groove and nail it.
"I think striving to find the level of consistency, of consistently playing well," said Luck of where his mindset is right now as opposed to where it was a week ago. "From last week, find out the mistakes. I'll try and fix those and have a good practice today, but trying to find a level of consistency. If I can find that, I'll be alright."
Luck hit 22-of-44 passes last Sunday for 280 yards, with two interceptions, in a 35-9 loss to the New York Jets. Indianapolis failed to find a rhythm it had offensively in previous games and did not score a touchdown. The performance came on the heels of an outstanding final 30 minutes against Green Bay where the Colts rolled to 27 second-half points in a 30-27 win.
"Get back winning (is our focus)," said Luck. "I think the great thing about sports and competition (is) you get a game the next week. Whether it's a win or a loss, you go back out there and you have to prove yourself again. Winning, that's our goal."
Luck was just one of many Colts who viewed the film on Monday and put the performance in the past. Doing so and moving forward is the only option. The key is to rebound. Luck knows what he wants against Cleveland.
"It goes back to consistency and realizing you have to be consistent in this league if you want to be successful," said Luck. "You can't take a play off, miss a wide open guy in the end zone, have a decent drive and have it be third-and-one and miss an open guy. So, it's consistency."
Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians has mentored Luck, along with other quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger who have achieved success. He tutored those two players early in their careers, and he knows Luck needs to let the game come to him.
"He made a couple of early mistakes being too anxious to get the ball out of his hands because he knew the guys were wide open," said Arians. "Just relax, let it play out. Don't throw it two steps early. You have them right where you want them, just get the ball in there and not try too hard. It's not like a lack of focus, it's trying too hard. Just let it happen."
Luck has had everything thrust at him with the Indianapolis offense. He has said he never has felt overwhelmed with it, or with the pace at which it was introduced. He also shrugs off the notion that rookies have to endure up-and-down performances, given the difficulty of the game.
"I don't think so. There are guys on this team who can't wait for a rookie quarterback to grow up, or a rookie (in) any position," said Luck. "We're trying to win. I think any competitor would say that as well. I guess I don't buy into it."
Arians knows there will be highs and lows that come at unannounced moments, but feels firm instruction and proper direction are keys to bringing a young player through those times.
"I think so, but you can't ever expect them, and you can't ever allow it. You have to demand that they play great," said Arians. "Ours is capable of it. He has done it. Once you do it, you set a standard. You don't go back down. When you go back down, you have to find the reason why, 'What was it, preparation? What was it, not understanding the game plan?' Come back, settle it down and go forward.
"We've set a pretty high standard already. We're not going to use youth, especially at that position, as an excuse."
Luck has carried on through previous successes, and he is coming off a tougher performance on which he must not dwell. He is not sure which is harder to do, handle success or disappointment.
"I don't know which one is tougher. I think you learn to deal with both situations as an athlete," said Luck. "Each situation you realize you have another (game) coming up so regardless of what happened, get back on track.
"I sort of got over (last week) after watching the film. I tried to be critical of myself and figure out the errors. Our focus is on the Browns and where we can go."
Luck will be sharing the field with Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden, who like Luck has started every game. Luck turned 23 on the week leading into the Minnesota game, a game the team won late, 23-20, and where Luck became the first NFL rookie to direct a fourth-quarter comeback win in September since 1971. Weeden turned 29 last Sunday, the day where he earned his first career NFL victory, 34-24 over Cincinnati.
They met on last January 2 in the Fiesta Bowl, and both starred. Luck completed 27-of-31 passes for 347 yards, with two touchdowns. Weeden hit 29-of-42 for 399 yards and three scores as Oklahoma State beat Stanford in overtime, 41-38.
Their statistics are similar once again as Luck has hit 118-of-221 attempts for 1,488 yards, with seven touchdowns and interceptions. Weeden, in six games to Luck's five, has completed 129-of-231 passes for 1,519 yards, with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Facing a rookie signal-caller for the first time this season, Arians would not mind applying some pocket pressure.
"Any time you can do that you obviously make them uncomfortable, especially a young one, getting him to move out of the pocket or move around," said Arians. "Most young quarterbacks are going to keep their eyes where their reads are, and telegraph some things. If you can make them uncomfortable, it helps disrupt their accuracy. (If you) hit them, it helps a lot more to get their feet moving."
INJURY UPDATE –Arians said the only players ruled out for Sunday are running back Donald Brown and defensive end Fili Moala. Linebacker Pat Angerer will practice in a limited role, and Arians said he and all others hurt likely are questionable for Sunday, including linebacker Robert Mathis.
PERSONNEL NEWS – Defensive end Lawrence Guy was signed from the Green Bay practice squad to the active roster. Guy, 6-4, 300, originally was drafted by taken by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent last year on injured reserve. Indianapolis has signed linebacker Jerry Brown and quarterback Chandler Harnish to the practice squad. Brown and Harnish were released from the active roster on Tuesday. Linebacker D.J. Bryant was terminated from the practice squad.