The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up the 2017 regular season on a strong note, but not without some drama.
A lot of things have changed since the season started, but one of the biggest changes has been the Colts starting quarterback situation.
Ryan Lindley is the first starter since 2008 who has been on the field during the bye week.
The Colts have been without their franchise quarterback for at least three weeks, and it’s been a struggle for the Colts to get him healthy.
“I don’t think you can ever be certain when you start playing a game, but it’s a challenge for every single player, every single person, every team, to get in the rhythm and get in rhythm with what’s going on,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.
“So I’m hoping he gets some work in this week and hopefully that can help him get back to where he wants to be and play well.”
The Colts have two bye weeks, one of which is scheduled for Thursday, which means Lindley will be on the sideline for two weeks, while running back Joe Mixon will be out for at most three weeks.
“We know that Ryan is a great guy.
I think everybody knows that,” Pagano told reporters.
“I think everybody would be proud of him and everybody knows what he’s done in this league.
He’s had a great career.
He has a great family and he’s been through a lot in his career, but we want to be proud to see him back out there.”
With Mixon out, Luck will have to make do with rookie Jake Browning, who was named the starter in place of Lindley on Thursday.
Browning finished third in the NFL with 3,531 passing yards and 16 touchdowns.
He completed just 12 of 30 passes for 124 yards.
Mixon was the team’s starter from Week 1 through Week 9, completing 68 percent of his passes with an average of 19.6 yards per attempt.
He was held to one touchdown and one interception in that span.
Browning has a big week against the Indianapolis Colts.
He will be coming off a big game against the New Orleans Saints in Week 13, but he will also be coming into a big matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
The Colts will play their first home game against Cleveland in Week 15, which is on a short week.
After the Browns win that game, the Colts will travel to face the New York Jets, who beat the Colts in Week 9.
“I think we’ve got to go out and prove we can compete,” Luck said.
“We have to show that we can win at home and we’ve done that.
I’m excited to get back out on the turf.”
Pagano believes he can help his quarterback get back on track.
“Ryan’s been in great shape, he’s doing well, he feels like he’s going to be in great spirits,” Pagansano said of Luck.
“So we’re not going to get caught up in trying to get some stats from him.
I don’t have a lot of time to dwell on that.
We’re going to go into a game with confidence, with the guys around us and hopefully we’ll get a lot done.”
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_Kee_NFL.