Andrew Luck the passer -- and the runner

September, 9, 2013
9/09/13
11:00
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS – In at a time when Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are the players rightfully talked about the most when it comes to mobile quarterbacks, there's one in Indianapolis who doesn't mind using his feet to make things happen.

That's understandable, since he technically is a drop-back passer. But Colts quarterback Andrew Luck can be called a mobile quarterback, too. He has no problem tucking the ball and taking off with it.

Just ask the Oakland Raiders.

With his receivers covered and the middle of the field wide open midway through the fourth quarter Sunday, Luck took off, got a good block from Darrius Heyward-Bey and went left into the end zone for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a strong suit, but I’ve always been taught going back to college, even high school, if you can get a first down with your legs as a quarterback, that can be a good thing,” Luck said about his mobility. “It can be somewhat demoralizing for a defense in a sense.”

Luck finished with 38 yards rushing -- half of which came on his touchdown jaunt. He proved on one of his runs that he knows how to elude defenders. Luck got free from Raiders linebacker Kevin Burnett’s attempt to wrap him up and ran for nine yards and a first down.

Luck has rushed for 293 yards and six touchdowns in his young career.

While teams like Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington run the read-option offense, Luck’s runs aren’t by design. The Colts don’t have any designed runs for their quarterback in the playbook.

“The guy, he’s a pro-style, drop-back pocket passer,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “But if things open up and people play tight coverage on you and there’s nowhere to go with the ball, instinctively that’s what you’re going to do.”

Luck doesn’t want to be hanging onto the ball. His preference is to hand it off or find an open receiver downfield.

“I want the ball out of my hands 99.99 percent of the time,” he said. “The ball doesn’t need to be in my hands all the time, per se. In certain situations when it opens up like that, you do run.”

The last thing anybody wants is for the Colts’ franchise player to get injured.

Luck has admitted he’s not the most graceful when it comes to sliding to the ground. He also wants to fight for every yard he can get.

“Instincts take over, and he’s an instinctive football player,” Pagano said. “But we’re going to tell him, ‘You get close to the sidelines, throw it away, run out of bounds, slide,' all those things. We talk to him daily about it.”

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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