What do the Indianapolis Colts do with Andrew Luck?

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Outside linebacker Bruce Irvin
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Outside linebacker Bruce Irvin /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 26: Owner Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 26: Owner Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Overhaul the coaching staff and roster

Ultimately, Indy won’t want to get rid of a generational talent like Luck and will want to give him every chance to succeed.

The roster overhaul has already begun. New GM Chris Ballard has already purged much of the roster from the Ryan Grigson era.

Fully expect that overhaul to continue come free agency and the draft next year.

There is much improvement still to be made. This is especially true on the offensive and defensive lines where the Colts are desperate for difference makers. Protecting Luck should be priority number one. Fortunately, the 2018 draft offers a number of top prospects along the offensive line that will be available.

Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey and Texas’ Connor Williams look like the class of the position group at this stage and Ballard should be observing them keenly.

Affording Luck time and protection in the pocket is vital to the Colts success and their quarterback’s future in the game. He hasn’t once had a top ten rated O-Line in his five season’s in Indianapolis yet he has led them to three playoff appearances and posted staggering numbers.

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Luck holds the NFL record for most passing yards through his first 3 seasons (12,688), the most passing yards by a rookie in a single season (4,374) and is only the third player to throw for 3,000 yards in the first nine games, alongside Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

He also holds the franchise record for most passing yards in a season with 4761, usurping Peyton Manning.

These remarkable stats highlight Luck’s ability and the Colts should do everything they can to help him rediscover this form. Sitting him in 2017 is the best way to do this, as it ensures he will  return rested and healthy.

The other major area of change that is becoming increasingly necessary is in the coaching staff.

Chuck Pagano has done a fine job in his five seasons with the Colts. The 56-year-old will forever hold a place in the organisation’s hearts after his public battle with cancer in 2012. Pagano, his players, and the fans share a special bond because of this and replacing him won’t be easy.

But, it is one that does need to happen soon. For all his courage and likability, Pagano hasn’t been able to improve this team. Putting it bluntly, Luck’s prime years are being wasted away by a coaching staff that is flawed throughout.

Pagano’s speciality is defense, yet Luck has never had a top ten defense in his five seasons under him.

Ballard must pursue a strong offensive mind and there are two obvious candidates that Luck is already familiar with.

As aforementioned, Jim Harbaugh’s has been linked to this job and the Michigan head coach would be a fantastic hire.

Harbaugh, a former Colts QB himself, has a rare ability to transform struggling teams into tough, smart football units. His NFL pedigree is proven and he coached and recruited Luck at Stanford.

The Colts job is one of the few that might be able to draw Harbaugh away from his Alma Mater. Whether he would leave after just two years in Ann Arbor is another question.

But he would be mad not to listen to what the Colts have to say.

Another option for the Colts is Luck’s other coach from his college days and still Stanford coach David Shaw.

Shaw has reportedly turned down multiple NFL jobs in the past but the chance to work with Luck might be the one to lure him away from Stanford.

His intellectual offensive approach would be a breath of fresh air for Indy. The hire would also go down fantastically with Luck who has a well-known affinity for Shaw and his system.

Giving Luck the opportunity to shine in an advanced offensive system is a chance the Colts simply cannot turn down. And, even if these two college coaches aren’t able to be torn away from their respective jobs, there are others within the NFL that should be approached.

Patriots OC Josh McDaniels would also be a shrewd hire. The prospect of working with Luck should inspire him to take the dive into the head coaching world again.

Luck’s prime years cannot continue to be wasted by an offensively limited coaching staff and a lack of on field talent surrounding him.

The pressure is on Ballard to provide new hope if Luck can regain his Pro Bowl form and stay healthy. Those are big ifs.

Their hand may be forced depending on how circumstances turn out with number 12’s health and form.

Will he sit or play in 2017? Will he be the long-term franchise quarterback that the organisation drafted him to be? Or will his prodigious talent go to waste?

One thing is for sure. A decision needs to be made imminently regarding the future of Luck and the franchise.