INDIANAPOLIS – Those wondering if Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck can make a jump in his play this season will want to listen to defensive end Cory Redding.
Actually, Colts fans will want to listen. Fans of other teams might not want to hear it.
Luck has been front and center during the Colts' organized team activities (OTAs) and will remain there when the veteran minicamp takes place next week.
Redding, who has spent a career studying quarterbacks – primarily with the intent of smashing them – likes what he sees.
“He's here with us working every day, running, lifting, show us the true leader he is and is still becoming,” Redding said. “He's doing a great job and I can't wait to see him with live bullets. He's giving our DBs (defensive backs) you know what. He's giving them the business right now.”
Redding points out that Luck has been able to log additional hours in preparation that weren't at his disposal last spring when he was finishing up his degree at Stanford University.
The addition of former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton as the Colts' coordinator is another bonus, even with a number of offensive changes.
“If anything, (Luck) is more comfortable, with what he did in college, it's the same play system, the same everything,” Redding said. “Last year, he was in school trying to learn the playbook in California.”
Luck has been a fixture throughout the OTAs, which end Thursday. Veteran mini-camp is next Tuesday through Thursday, with an open practice for fans from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Other than newly acquired safety LaRon Landry, the Colts have had a strong showing at the optional practices. Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis missed a few of the sessions. Players are not required to be in attendance, although it's strongly encouraged.
Luck has logged extra duty helping Hamilton install the aspects of the offense that will change and resemble what Luck ran at Stanford. Some of the terminology will be similar. The Colts also have two other players from Stanford on the roster: tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Griff Whalen.
“(Luck) is doing well,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said last week. “Obviously, we've talked at length about how bright the guy is. Even though we've changed some things from a system standpoint, the communication, terminology, formations – all those types of things – he's only a year removed from a lot of the things he's hearing again as far as Pep coming in.
“He's very comfortable with where we are right now.”
Fleener said there are some obstacles to everyone reaching the same page with the Hamilton offense.
“For guys just coming into the offense, it can be a tough one to learn,” Fleener said. “Andrew and Griff and I do our best to relay the nuances we learned along the way.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Redding said the Colts are intent on improving the number of takeaways. Indianapolis ranked 20th in interceptions, 32nd in forced fumbles and fumble recoveries.
“That's one of the goals we didn't reach last year,” Redding said. “We want to be more aggressive taking the ball, ripping, stripping, trying to make them fumble and do whatever's necessary to get the ball back in (No.) 12's hands.”
No.12, of course, is Luck.