Andrew Luck will miss the Colts’ season-opener against the Rams on Sunday, leaving Scott Tolzien to start Week 1.

This is obviously not ideal for the Colts, who have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years, but it’s the smart long-term play.

“The entire city of Indianapolis was hoping and kind of praying because without Andrew Luck, that team has no chance to win – even against a team as shoddy as the Los Angeles Rams,” Indianapolis 1430 AM radio host Kent Sterling said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The only guy who presented really any kind of optimism about Andrew Luck was owner Jim Irsay – and if there’s a guy in that complex who you can say, ‘Let’s just not pay any attention to this guy,’ it would kind of be Jim Irsay. Chris Ballard never said anything (except) it was going to be a process. Chuck Pagano, same thing. Andrew Luck, same thing. It just didn’t heal right. They’re trying to strengthen it so there’s no recurrence of the injury.”

 

 

Ballard, especially, is in no hurry.

“I think that Ballard understands as a new GM, No. 1, he’s in the first year of his deal so he can be patient,” Sterling said. “But I think he’s a guy who really kind of has a long-track vision about the construct of this team. He knows it’s not a Super Bowl team in 2017, so why push stuff? Why put into doubt 2018, ’19, ’20, and rush Andrew back to be the quarterback of an 8-8, 7-9, 6-10 team?”

Luck, the first overall pick in 2012, led the Colts to an 11-5 mark in each of his first three seasons and advanced to the AFC Championship in 2014. Indianapolis hasn’t won a Super Bowl with Luck, Sterling said, but Luck has been incredible.

“With that offensive line, with those offensive weapons and with that defense, for that guy to put together 33-15 over his first three years and 8-8 the last two years, I think, is nothing short of unbelievable,” Sterling said. “While they’re not hoisting banners and carving out places for new Lombardi trophies, to do what he’s doing . . . they might not have won any games. That’s how good this guy is. He’s taken mediocrity, at best, and turned it into a playoff contender year after year after year.”

Colts/Rams, along with Jets/Bills, will be among the ugliest Week 1 games, as all four teams have question marks at quarterback.

“You’ve got the Jets and the Bills, which is a total awful game, and then you’ve the got the Rams and Colts. That’s an awful game,” Sterling said. “If I didn’t live here, I’d avoid them both.”

Kickoff for Indy is at 4:05 p.m. ET.

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