- Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS – You have to wonder if there will ever be a time when quarterback Andrew Luck won’t be able to pull himself up off the ground with all the hits and sacks continuing to pile up on the Indianapolis Colts’ franchise player.
Not even a lineup change on the offensive line could protect Luck against the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans pressured Luck all Sunday afternoon and sacked him five times, including four times in the second quarter.
The five sacks bring Luck’s total up to 29 this season. He was sacked 28 times through 12 games last season. Luck was sacked 41 times last season. He has yet to leave a game because of an injury during his two-year career.
“It’s our biggest concern right now, first and foremost,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “And that’s been since day one, since he’s stepped on campus, since we drafted him No. 1, was protect 12. And that’s never going to change.”
Pagano moved Jeff Linkenbach into the starting lineup at right guard in place of the struggling Mike McGlynn against the Titans. But now Linkenbach is out for the time being with a slight tear of his quadriceps. Pagano is calling him week to week.
Options are limited on the offensive line for the Colts. Joe Reitz, Khaled Holmes, who has been inactive most of the season, and McGlynn are the only backups on the active roster. McGlynn may end up back in the starting lineup in Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Protection could be an issue against the Bengals because they are ninth in the league in sacks with 36 this season.
“From a technical standpoint, we’ll continue to work fundamentals and technique,” Pagano said. “I think right now, and again, when things start to go haywire on you a little bit and you’re struggling, the first thing that happens is you get away from your fundamentals and your technique and you start pressing. And then it just gets worse and it goes downhill even more from there. … We just got to do it better and we just got to do it on a more consistent basis.”