Andrew Luck: What to Watch for Against Pittsburgh Steelers

Roy BurtonContributor IAugust 19, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 12: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass the ball against the St. Louis Rams during a preseason NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Andrew Luck may have had a stellar debut against the St. Louis Rams last week, but the true test comes on Sunday night when he faces off against a solid Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

Luck faces one of the league's most blitz-happy teams on Sunday, and he will need to focus on getting rid of the ball quickly before the pocket collapses on him. Pittsburgh routinely had its way with both the Philadelphia Eagles' first- and second-string units back on August 9, and the Steelers will look to do more of the same against the Indianapolis Colts.

Pittsburgh will be without two members of its front seven, as nose tackle Casey Hampton (torn left ACL) and linebacker James Harrison (knee surgery) are currently on the shelf with injuries. Even so, expect longtime Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to throw everything—including the kitchen sink—at the Indianapolis rookie signal-caller.

Working in Luck's favor is the fact that Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was the architect behind the Pittsburgh attack for the past five seasons. Arians is well aware of what the Steelers are working with on the defensive side of the ball and should be able to plan accordingly.

To that end, expect to see a fair amount of running back Donald Brown against the Steelers. Not only did he catch a 63-yard touchdown pass from Luck in the opener, but his ability to gain tough yards on the ground will also provide a change of pace for the Indianapolis attack.

That Colts' attack will still be centered around Luck, however, and the 6'5", 232-pound quarterback figures to work his first-string receivers a bit more into the mix on Sunday. Against the Rams, Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Coby Fleener combined for just four catches and 50 total yards.

Luck isn't perfect by any stretch, but his lack of discernible weaknesses will make it hard for the Steelers—and 30 other NFL teams, for that matter—to game-plan against him. The rookie quarterback knows that his second preseason game is a huge milestone in his development, and he's eager to take on the challenge.

"'It'll be fun,'" Luck told the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald) earlier this week. "'[T]o have a chance to go against a great historical defense, a great franchise, with a great fan base, will be fun.'"