Coach: 'Thank God we have' Andrew Luck, but team must improve

INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts coach Chuck Pagano clarified what may have appeared to be critical comments of general manager Ryan Grigson and explained his frustration with Andrew Luck's turnover problems after Monday's loss to the New York Jets on Tuesday.

Pagano, a coach normally capable of finding a positive out of any loss, was asked about Luck dealing with blitzes while playing behind a subpar offensive line.

"That's been the case for three years now, has it not? He should be more than comfortable dealing with what he's dealing with," Pagano said after the game Monday. "We've got to get it fixed."

Grigson added skill players like receiver Andre Johnson and running back Frank Gore during the offseason but failed to improve the offensive line, which has been an issue during Luck's career with the Colts. Indianapolis started 11 different offensive line groups last season. Luck has been blitzed on 47.9 percent of his dropbacks, which is the third-highest rate in the NFL, according to ESPN's Stats & Information, this season.

"Really, it was complimenting our quarterback is what I was doing there," Pagano said. "You guys know how many different lineups we've had because of injuries and this, that and another. That's well documented over the last three years and the way he's been able to perform and lead this football team. Eleven wins three straight years and playoff wins.

"We have one hell of a quarterback. We have a great player and a great leader there. But again, it was more like, 'Hey we're lucky we have Andrew.' "

Pagano also added, "Thank God we have the guy that we have."

Pagano was very harsh about the Colts' turnover problems. They've got eight turnovers this season, and Luck is responsible for six of those - five interceptions and a lost fumble. He has an NFL-high 28 turnovers in the past two seasons.

The Colts rebounded from an 0-2 start last season to win the AFC South and reach the AFC Championship Game. But this season's 0-2 start has a different feeling because of the expectations surrounding the team and the tension surrounding Pagano and Grigson. Each loss will fuel more speculation about Pagano's job status since he's in the final year of his contract.

The winless Colts play at Tennessee on Sunday.

"We have a really good football team," Pagano said. "It gets frustrating when you just shoot yourself in the foot, so to speak. I know we're better than we played, and we've seen glimpses of that. You have to do it on a consistent basis. You're disappointed, not discouraged, so to speak. This is not unfamiliar territory for us. Do we want to be in this situation? No. Do we want to be 0-2? No. Do we want to have the turnovers and the penalties and the self-inflicted negatives that are going on? No.

"And that's why we'll get back to work [Wednesday] and these guys will do a great job and we'll continue to work and we'll continue to iron out the kinks and get better. We have no other choice, obviously."

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