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What Wins Sunday? Rex Ryan's Aggressive Nature Or Andrew Luck's Poise

Intro: Facing Rex Ryan’s aggressive style defense on Sunday, something has to give between the Colts and Bills. Andrew Luck has a history of succeeding against pressure. What will be the result come Sunday?


INDIANAPOLIS – Something has to give.

On one sideline Sunday afternoon, you have an NFL head coach known for never-ending aggression behind his defensive calls. In Buffalo, Rex Ryan now does it with a unit that was a top-five defense, leading the NFL with 54 sacks last season, before the head coach's attention-grabbing arrival this offseason.

On the other sideline is the quarterback who rarely seems rattled. Rex Ryan calls Andrew Luck the next star signal caller in the NFL. There's a reason why Ryan began his Wednesday press conference pleading Bills fans to make Luck's 2015 debut this Sunday one to forget.

"This guy's got a big, booming voice, all that type of stuff. The kid's got everything," Ryan said of Luck on Wednesday. "I'm calling our fans out, we need you.

"This guys the number one fantasy quarterback for this week. He's the play, he's the go to guy, everybody wants him. But we got to make it challenging for him and we will with our defense and all that. We're going to make it as challenging as we possibly can, but it can only be added by fans and when our defense is on that field. I can't wait to see our fans and the way we react."

Ryan wasn't done talking about the Colts three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

"(Luck) runs the whole show," Ryan continued. "They run a no-huddle, but it's more of a muddle huddle. He controls the tempo. He draws people offsides, so he can do everything. There's a certain chess match involved.

"But we have to get after him, too. You can't just let him go 7-on-7 on you, and we won't. At the end of the day, we're not sitting back in coverage every snap. They know it and we don't care that they know it. We're going to mix up everything we've got."

Luck has faced a Rex Ryan defense once in his career, back in a 2012 meeting against the New York Jets.

From watching Jets film and mixing in preseason tape of the Bills, Luck knows what's coming on Sunday afternoon---the pressure.

You could say Luck thrives under such scenarios.

No quarterback in the NFL was better against the blitz in 2014 than Luck.

When teams felt the need to blitz Luck last season, he tossed 18 touchdowns, compared to just three interceptions.

"When you blitz, there's an opportunity for a big play," Luck says of the risk/reward.

"That's a big play for the defense or if you're on it, that's a big play for the offense. We try to relish it and welcome it. Be ready to make a defense pay, if they do (blitz)."

Colts veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck couldn't agree more with Luck's assessment of handling the aggressive style of Ryan's defenses.

Hasselbeck says Ryan's defenses simulate the look of bringing a lot of pressure, trying to make an offense sit on its heels.

For the Colts to be successful Sunday, passivity cannot take place.

"I think the best way to attack them is to get aggressive yourself. Take an aggressive mentality, an offensive mentality," Hasselbeck says. "The teams that struggle against them are the teams that get defensive, block blitzers that aren't blitzing.

"In my mind, the best thing you can do is get aggressive and just understand that there's going to be a big play one way or another---for us, or for them."

A rainy afternoon practice getting ready for the Bills.

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