Skip to main content

When Andrew Luck gazes over Cincinnati’s defence Sunday, he’ll see some of the league’s top pass rushers.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins often gets the interior push. Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson routinely bring the outside pressure.

So with Luck making his first start in more than 20 months, the Cincinnati Bengals hope to make life miserable as the Colts quarterback reacclimatizes himself to regular-season life in the NFL.

Story continues below advertisement

“My biggest concern, they have a really good front seven,” Luck said. “It’s always a tough defence. Geno Atkins is a heck of a player, Dunlap on the edge, got guys that can cover. So it’s always a challenge.”

Circumstances could make this season opener even more challenging for Indy.

Long-time left tackle Anthony Castonzo missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice earlier this week. Denzelle Good, who appeared to be the favourite at right tackle, hasn’t played since hurting his left knee in the third preseason game.

Then, there’s rookie left guard Quenton Nelson, the No. 6 pick. He’s likely to draw the assignment on Atkins, and there’s no assurance second-year running back Marlon Mack will return from a hamstring injury that has kept him off the field since the preseason opener. If Mack can’t play, rookies Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines may be asked to help protect Luck, one of the league’s highest-paid players.

No, it’s not an ideal start for a quarterback who missed the 2017 season while recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder.

But the Colts may not have a choice.

“We will do everything we can do to neutralize the pass rush – no matter what five guys are up front,” new coach Frank Reich said. “And that will be No. 1 on the pass game agenda each week: How do you protect the passer?”

Story continues below advertisement

The Bengals have other concerns after losing eight straight in Indy.

They’re expecting to face a crowd eager to welcome back Luck and capable of making enough noise to slow down the pass rushers.

“I think everybody there is going to be excited,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “We know the kind of player that he is. I guess if you’re going to play Andrew Luck, you’d rather be playing him now than Week 12.”

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter