Andrew Luck on Frank Gore: “He protects his butt off”

If Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had a decent offensive line, his already-impressive numbers would likely soar. However, while the Colts didn’t upgrade their blocking unit on the line of scrimmage, running back Frank Gore is the next best thing.

According to Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star, Luck praised his new running back’s ability and willingness to pass block.

“He’s tough, he’s smart, he protects his butt off. Maybe one of the best in this generation of football players with protecting the quarterback.”

Luck continued, expressing what the veteran’s impact means for reserve running backs Daniel “Boom” Herron, Zurlon Tipton, Vick Ballard and Josh Robinson:

“He’s obviously been around and seen a lot of football, and that helps. His memory bank is full of looks. I think without a coach having to coach him on how to do things, he’s done it before and he knows it. You can tell it’s rubbed off on Boom, Zurlon, Vick and Josh … because he makes it look easy sometimes when it’s not. It really is a hard thing to do and he is physical.”

The Colts are expected to contend for a Super Bowl berth, especially since the franchise has advanced one more round in each postseason since Luck arrived in the NFL.

Although the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft constantly hops right back up after being hit, Luck will certainly benefit from Gore’s ability. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) notes Indianapolis surrendered 71 quarterback hits last season and 68 in 2013.

Gore is a prime example of how running backs can impact the game without having the ball in their hands.

Photo: USA Today Sports