Andrew Luck talks making his debut with the Colts against the Bears on Sunday, facing Urlacher, and being a rook in The League.
What kind of expectations do you have for Bears defense on Sunday?
“I think, one, they are historically great. Got All-Stars all over the field. I expect them to be good, to be fast, be physical, give me, give all the guys, a great challenge.”
Has [offensive coordinator] Bruce Arians developed the playbook to make it Luck friendly?
“He has a great feel for what quarterbacks like and dislike in his offense. Obviously he’s going to have his mark on the offense on what’s being called, and we do have great communication on all levels, whether it’s big-picture stuff or little details, but he seems to have a good feel of what I like naturally, and I don’t feel myself very often saying, ‘Oh, I hate this play that he’s calling right now.’ So I think he’s got a great sense of that, and he sort of calls it a little different for each quarterback he has in there. But the communication has been great and I just think he has a great feel of what different quarterbacks like.”
Has the success of Cam Newton and Andy Dalton put more pressure on rookie QBs?
“I don’t know. Any quarterback in the NFL is going to have some pressure on him to win, to succeed, and win now. It’s not a culture that likes to wait around for things to get good. I hope I don’t have to wait around to be a decent football player. So I don’t think that affects the way I approach things too much.”
Are you paying attention to [Brian] Urlacher playing or not?
“You have to pay attention to whether he plays or not. That’s one of the best ever, if not the best middle linebacker. We’ll definitely know, definitely be aware of him. If he doesn’t play, I’m sure their defense will be fine, they’ll be good as always. Someone will step up. If he does play then it’s another challenge for us.”
Compare freshman year in college to being a rookie in the big-boy league?
“I feel a little more well prepared now than I did in my first college game. I think the preseason helps a lot, just to feel a little bit about the speed of the game. I understand that I’m sure it will be picked up another notch because of the regular season, but to be in there in a pocket with live rushers and be able to say, ‘OK, this is how big NFL guys are, this is how strong they are … ‘ So the preseason has helped a lot. When you’re surrounded by a lot of great players, great coaches, they help you get ready.”
What about facing the Bears defense?
“Very excited. What a great way to kick things off, with a great challenge. It will be tough sledding to get yards, to get points. I couldn’t be more excited.”
You mean you wouldn’t be more excited about facing a bad defense?
“[Laughs] No, I think this is a wonderful opportunity to go up against a lot of players that are arguably the best at their position and play at a high level, so it will be a great measuring stick per say.”
Any one piece of advice that gives you an NFL-ready backbone?
“That really sticks? That’s a good question. Practice to get better is the best advice I received. I’m not sure who gave it to me, but it stuck.”
Quarterback is such a position of leadership, is that hard to grab as a rookie?
“One, as a quarterback you naturally assume leadership just because you’re talking in the huddle. You’re calling plays, the plays run through you, and because of that you’re going to assume some type of role. And because of that I’ve tried not to assert my personality or force anything. I’ve tried to defer, lean on, Reggie Wayne, Samson Satele, Winston Justice, Donald Brown, guys that have been around and sort of know how to operate. I know that I know relatively nothing compared to these guys as far as being a professional football player, how to approach things. And I realize too that I haven’t done anything on the football field in a regular-season game, so until I prove myself on the football field, I definitely defer to those guys to be leaders.”
How nice is it to have [former Stanford teammate] Coby [Fleener] with you in Indy?
“It’s been good. It’s nice to have a familiar face to maybe go through things together. He’s a good football player, as well, so it’s nice to have him on the team. But I don’t think it would be any harder for us if we were on different teams. He would fit in any locker room really well, and I would like to think the same of myself.”