What we learned from Colts-Rams preseason game

By Brian McIntyre
Around the League writer | NFL.com
Published: Aug. 12, 2012 at 05:04 p.m.

There was only one NFL preseason game scheduled for Sunday, but it might have been the most anticipated game on the entire slate this summer as it featured No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck's debut for the Indianapolis Colts.

So what did we learn today?

» For starters, we learned that this Luck guy has a chance to be pretty good. His first pass attempt went for a 63-yard touchdown (the pass traveled four yards and was completed two yards beyond the line of scrimmage) and the Colts put touchdowns on the scoreboard in three of his four possessions.

Luck's two most impressive plays were him freezing the safety on the hash mark before delivering a 23-yard touchdown strike to Austin Collie, and not attempting to truck NFL defensive backs the way he did Pac-12 defensive backs by sliding after nine yards on a scramble on third and 15. Self-preservation is an important skill for the Stanford alum to have on Aug. 12.

The Colts will need Luck to be as self-aware as possible because their offensive line is a train wreck. Though Luck was not sacked, he faced significant pressure on seemingly every pass attempt in the early going.

» Staying with the rookie theme, Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, a second-round draft pick, nearly sullied Luck's debut with an interception. But the ball rifled through Jenkins' hands and into those of rookie receiver T.Y. Hilton, who made an outstanding play by holding onto the ball and dragging his feet to stay in bounds. Though he didn't make the play, Jenkins showed he can break on the ball, and the Rams might have an outstanding playmaker on the boundary.

» Sam Bradford's debut appearance in his third offense in as many NFL seasons was brief. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft played two series (19 plays) and completed 7 of 9 pass attempts for 57 yards. Most of Bradford's attempts were short, high-percentage passes, which explains his high completion percentage and low yards per attempt. Improved play from the line and getting second-round draft pick Brian Quick, who has the speed to take the top off opposing defenses, involved with the first-team offense should result in more downfield throws from Bradford.

» We also learned that Jerry Hughes, the Colts' 2010 first-round draft pick, might like playing in new head coach Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense. Hughes has just one sack in 24 games, but he picked up two on Sunday. Granted they came against the Rams' offensive line, and Hughes appeared to be way offsides on the second sack, but now would be a great time for Hughes to turn his career around.