New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Andrew Luck looks a little different under new Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich, but the concerns the 29-year-old quarterback presents haven’t changed.
“I think any coach would put the ball in Luck’s hands. He’s a very very good quarterback,” Belichick said. “He has excellent skill players to work with. We’ve seen Luck control many games before. It’s different because it’s a different system.”
Belichick suspected Reich has given Luck, who played at Stanford, more leeway to improvise than some quarterbacks get.
“I’m sure that Coach Reich has given Luck a lot of flexibility in the offense in terms of things at the line of scrimmage and post-snap decisions, pre-snap decisions, all of those kinds of things,” Belichick said. “So it’s different, but I’d say he’s had a lot of responsibility like that in the past and he handles it very well. He’s a very sharp guy that has good football instincts and makes a lot of good decisions, so I can see why they put it in his hands.”
Luck, who missed all of 2017 with a shoulder injury, is 0-5 in his career against New England with three regular season losses and two in the playoffs.
Under Reich, Luck is running a short-pass heavy west coast offense variation that’s similar to what the Philadelphia Eagles run. Luck’s completion percentage (67.2) is at the highest it’s been in his career, but his average yards per attempt (6.1) are at the lowest he’s had been in the new system.
Reich, the longtime Buffalo Bills backup quarterback was the Eagles offensive coordinator the last two seasons and helped devise the game plan Philadelphia used to beat New England in the Super Bowl.
“They’re both west-coast based offenses. There’s a lot of carry over,” said Belichick, who didn’t plan to watch the Super Bowl as part of his preparation this week. “We’ve seen that game. We looked at that game pretty closely before the Philadelphia preseason game this year. They’re obviously things that came up in that game that are a carry over to this year. We’ve pretty much been down that road.”
Patriots’ corner Stephon Gilmore was taking a similar approach.
“They have some similarities, but not all of it. So we’ve got to prepare for all of it,” he said. “We know they’re coming in here, and they’re eager for a win. Just like we are.”