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Atlanta Dan 08-18-2012 08:18 PM

Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
Luck’s Performance in First Game Impresses Opposing Coach for His Next

Mike Tomlin is not a coach who is easily impressed. Even the most dominant performances by his Steelers are often met with a shrug of the shoulders.

Still, even Tomlin had to be impressed at least a little by what he saw from Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck last week. The top pick in April’s N.F.L. draft, Luck threw for a touchdown on his first pass as a professional and spent his four series on the field lighting up the Rams in a 38-3 preseason victory for the Colts.

“I thought he played really well,” Tomlin said. “I don’t mean ‘played really well for a rookie.’ I thought he played really well.”

An encore, however, figures to be tougher against the Steelers (0-1) on Sunday night. Pittsburgh’s first-string defense played sparingly in the preseason opener against Philadelphia. ...

Having a little familiarity with what the Colts are trying to do helps. Indianapolis’s offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, spent five seasons in the same position with Pittsburgh before being let go in the off-season.

The exit was not graceful. The Steelers announced that Arians retired, though the sabbatical lasted less than two weeks before the Colts tapped him to mold Luck into Peyton Manning’s successor.

Arians insists that he is not looking for payback against his former employer — just looking for his rookie to take another step forward.

Any word on whether the Steelers are planning to give out Arians bobblehead dolls Sunday night or otherwise honor the return to Heinz Field of the offensive genius responsible for the Steelers appearances in SB XLIII and SB XLV?

zcoop 08-18-2012 10:56 PM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
Mike's just being polite and PC. Luck did this against the Rams...........Yawn.

Hawaii 5-0 08-18-2012 11:19 PM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
Starters to get more work vs. Colts

Posted Aug 17, 2012
Teresa Varley -

The Steelers play their second preseason game on Sunday night when they host the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field and as expected the starting units will see more playing time.

“I’d like for them to play about twice as long as they did last time out,” said Tomlin. “That’s always a general reference but I always reserve the right to change it based on circumstance, performance, time of possession and things of that nature.”

The second preseason game is one where the rust should already be knocked off and the performances are stepped up a notch or two.

“The big thing is that I want to see a significant step in quality of play and an understanding of situational football and excelling in it,” said Tomlin. “That’s what the preseason is about, particularly the difference between game one and game two.”

As far as the quarterback rotation Tomlin said they are going with Ben Roethlisberger as the starter, Charlie Batch and Jarred Johnson, with veteran Byron Leftwich not playing.

“That’s a plan that we’ve approached going into this thing and we’re going to get Johnson a lot of work, particularly in the first two games,” said Tomlin. “He’s a guy that hasn’t had a bunch of in-game experience, particularly prior to this year. Even though he’s been in an NFL training camp, I think he’s only taken about four preseason snaps. We want to see what he is capable of, we want him get acclimated to an environment and give him a fair opportunity to see what he’s capable of.”

Johnson played the second half against the Eagles in the preseason opener, completing three of six passes for 93 yards.

“He’s a young guy that’s showing the growth and development that young guys show,” said Tomlin. “He’s had some good days and he’s had some days where he’s taken a step back. He’s sharp, he’s attentive, he has the desire to be great and he’s working extremely hard.”

Tackle Max Starks, who was taken off the physically unable to perform list earlier this week, has not been ruled out of playing on Sunday night, nor have other players coming back from injury.

“We’re going to let what happens on the field here today and tomorrow determine that, not only with him but with all of the guys,” said Tomlin. “That’s what I mean when I say I’m not ruling anyone out. Sean Spence is coming back and practicing today. Jonathan Dwyer came back and practiced yesterday, and others. We’re just going to let it play out and we’re not going to make any fast decisions because we don’t have to.

“Hopefully as game time approaches everyone will be available and have an opportunity to represent themselves and what they’re capable of doing.”

* * *

While the preseason still rolls on for a few more weeks, the Steelers will finish up their work at St. Vincent College this weekend and return to the UPMC Sports Performance Complex for the remainder of training camp.

Tomlin said he liked what he saw from the team in camp, and was even pleased that for the most part the weather cooperated.

“It was interesting how weather was a question on a daily basis,” said Tomlin. “All that being said we didn’t miss much work due to weather. I think maybe we missed one period due to weather. But it seemed like it was something we dealt with just about every day.”

* * *

Punter Jeremy Kapinos could begin working again, after missing a good portion of camp with a back injury.

“He’s working his way back but we’re going to let that work dictate his availability,” said Tomlin. “He’s coming back to us. He might even kick a football today.”

* * *

Rookie Chris Rainey will get most of the work in the return game on Sunday night, but he won’t be the only one.

“We’re going to give Chris Rainey the bulk of the work early on. David Gilreath, we want to see what he’s capable of,” said Tomlin. “He missed the last game due to injury so it’s important to see what he’s capable of. Marquis Maze represented himself rather well when given the opportunity last game. Those will be the three primary guys that we work with unless something in-game that dictates otherwise.”

tanda10506 08-19-2012 03:39 AM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
It might have been against the Rams, but he still did pretty damn good and it was his first NFL game. I never base much off of preseason because starters are usually half-assing it anyway, but he still performed very well.

Millers the sh!t 08-19-2012 01:12 PM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
I can't get over the offensive genius part....

Hawaii 5-0 08-20-2012 02:36 AM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
Luck’s skills readily apparent versus Steelers

By Mark Kaboly
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012

Andrew Luck’s skill set as it projects to the NFL has never been questioned.

But with any rookie — let alone the top overall pick in April’s draft who is being asked to be the second coming of Peyton Manning — how he responds to adversity will be significant.

Luck’s performance against the Steelers, who had the NFL’s top pass defense a year ago, spoke volumes.

Luck shrugged off a pair of costly first-half interceptions to respond with long touchdown drives in only his second professional game, a 26-24 loss.

“It showed character and maturity of Andrew to come back, make plays, move the ball and have two nice drives,” Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. “We showed great character and heart, that this team has to come back and put together two great touchdown drives together.”

Throw in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half that resulted in a field goal, and Luck’s day was quite productive.

“It was a rough start, but I settled down after that,” Luck said.

Luck struggled early, enduring a three-and-out on his first series and a punt on his second.

The third series was much worse.

Luck made a rookie mistake when he stared at receiver Reggie Wayne on a third-and-9. He paid the price when Ike Taylor stepped underneath and returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown.

“He is his own worst critic,” Pagano said. “He would love to have the first one back.”

Luck continued to show why Indianapolis felt comfortable releasing Manning.

Luck threw for 175 yards in the first half and led Indianapolis to a pair of 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drives, with the final one resulting in his fourth-down touchdown run from a yard out.

“He bounced back, and that’s what you want to see,” Colts linebacker Dwight Freeney said. “Nobody ever said it was going to be easy.”

After a slow start, Luck looked like anything but a rookie for the second consecutive week. After he threw his first interception, he responded by completing four consecutive passes for 60 yards — including a 13-yarder to Dwayne Allen on third down — to lead the Colts to a touchdown that cut the score to 14-7.

“You never want to give up big plays on defense and throw a pick-six on the offensive side of the ball,” Pagano said.

Luck was unlucky the next time the Colts got the ball. Rookie receiver T.Y. Hilton was open behind the secondary but let the ball bounce off his chest and into the waiting hands of Steelers defensive back Cortez Allen.

Luck responded like a veteran the next time Indianapolis got the ball, albeit against the Steelers’ second-team defense.

“I sensed (they) didn’t throw the kitchen sink at me. (They) showed a good bit. For the most part, we handled it well,” Luck said about the Steelers’ defense.

Luck threw every kind of pass imaginable — short, deep, across the middle, screens — as he completed all five of his passes for 65 yards. Consecutive throws to Wayne gained 27 and 18 yards, setting up the Colts for the game-tying score late in the first half.

“It doesn’t seem to be too big for him. He was able to stay focused and bounce back,” Wayne said.

teegre 08-20-2012 09:33 AM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
I love Luck.  He is going to be goooood.  He bounced back from his mistakes.  ALL young QBs make mistakes; their reaction is what separates them.  And Luck reacted perfectly (two really well-helmed TD drives).  

LgFriess 08-20-2012 12:00 PM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
He just looks like he has it. He's comfortable already in there. Some guys look so jittery, jumpy, have odd throwing mechanics or something. I was impressed by the kid. Good luck to him.... and I hope the Steelers destroy him every time they go at it.

steelfury02 08-20-2012 02:19 PM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
As they say, I wish you well, just not against the Steelers!

Now that BA guy, "smug little son of a . . ."

Riddle_Of_Steel 08-20-2012 02:59 PM

Re: Andrew Luck Impresses Tomlin
The press is overstating Luck's luck against our defense last night. When all the starters were in, he threw a TD us, and got picked off again. He only started to move the ball after the subs started going in.

He looked good, but not as good as the media is making him out to be.

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