Colts quarterback Andrew Luck an X-factor for Bears
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org September 6, 2012 10:50PM
Of the 11 quarterbacks drafted No. 1 in the last 15 years, only David Carr won his first start. Andrew Luck makes his debut Sunday. | Michael Conroy~AP
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:49PM
The expectation that the Bears can take advantage of Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is tempered by the fear that Luck might take advantage of them.
Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, will make his NFL debut against the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field. Of the 11 quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall in the last 15 years, only the Texans’ David Carr won his first NFL start. The Texans beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-10 in the 2002 season opener. The Cowboys finished 5-11.
Luck is on a team that finished 2-14 last season and is facing a Bears team that’s better than the 2002 Cowboys. But he also is considered by some as the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning in 1998. So despite his inexperience, Luck still is an X-factor. Last year, the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton was 24-for-37 for 422 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a 110.4 passer rating in a 34-29 loss to the Bears in his fourth NFL game.
‘‘It doesn’t matter to me,’’ linebacker Lance Briggs said when asked if he looks forward to facing rookie quarterbacks. ‘‘It’s really more about what we do. He’s a good quarterback. He’s smart. He’s prepared. You know all the rookie quarterbacks can come in and play.
‘‘But do I think they are Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? No. They have to learn like everybody else. Guys like Cam Newton, they’ve come out and put out some special numbers, but most quarterbacks are a dime a dozen, as far as I’m concerned. There’s an elite group, and then there’s guys that are either learning and trying to get better or are just a dime a dozen.’’
Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (knee) did not practice Thursday, and safety Chris Conte (dislocated shoulder) and punter Adam Podlesh (hip flexor) practiced on a limited basis. Urlacher is expected to start, Conte is questionable and Podlesh is unlikely to play. Craig Steltz would start for Conte, and rookie Ryan Quigley would punt for Podlesh.
Bears rookie defensive end Shea McClellin said he feels ‘‘well-prepared’’ for his NFL debut. McClellin figures to be a situational pass rusher, though he could play on special teams ‘‘if he’s not in the rotation [at end] and he’s not getting a lot of reps on defense,’’ special-teams coordinator Dave Toub said.
McClellin just wants to be on the field.
‘‘We’ll see when the time comes,’’ McClellin said when asked about his role on defense. ‘‘It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever the team needs me to play, I’ll play.’’
Devin Hester will return punts and kickoffs against the Colts, Toub said.
◆ Eric Weems and Sherrick McManis will be gunners on coverage units.