By: Trenton Roberts (Twitter: @TRobertsNFL)
As we enter Conference Championship week, 28 teams are already looking forward to next season. While the Chiefs, Bills, Buccaneers, and Packers continue to fight to keep their championship aspirations alive, the rest of the league is stuck looking on, longing to be in their places.
That is the nature of the NFL, though. Only one team will end up hoisting the Lombardi at season’s end, and every other team is left wondering what could have been.
Going into this off-season, every team has its flaws. Even among the four remaining teams that will play this Sunday, there are issues. Some issues are bigger than others, with the entire team needing to be revamped. Some teams are too old, some are too young. Some teams just need one final piece, but sometimes that piece could be the most important position in football.
The Indianapolis Colts are one of those teams, as they go into next season with only one quarterback currently on their payroll, 4th round rookie Jacob Eason. So, where do they go? Who leads their offense next season? And how far can this player take them?
Option #1: Phillip Rivers/Jacoby Brissett
*Update-Phillip Rivers announces retirement Wed. morning
In his first season with Indianapolis, Rivers started very slowly. Over the first half of the 2020 season, Rivers completed 186-of-274 passes for 2087 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. At times, the team seemed scared to pass the ball, and stumbled its way into a lucky 5-3 start.
Going into the second half, the team stared down 5 games against playoff teams, including a three-game stretch from Weeks 10-12 in which they faced the Titans twice as well as the Packers. Despite the tough competition, Rivers began to flourish in his new-found role as the facilitator for Jonathan Taylor’s offense, completing 183-of-269 attempts for 2082 yards and a 14-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. While the overall numbers were similar, Rivers was clearly more comfortable in this half, and took much better care of the ball, overall leading the team to a 6-2 second half and an 11-5 overall record.
Phillip Rivers has now retired. The Free Agent market at QB will be dim, but the Colts have shown to lift Rivers up from the level he performed in 2019 with Los Angeles.
Cam Newton could be an interesting look, as he carries a dual-threat ability that Frank Reich is familiar with–as Jacoby Brisset is. Ryan Fitzpatrick could demand an improved contract, more desire for a stable position, and a better team with the Colts than Miami
Brissett, on the other hand, was used quite a bit this season, despite not drawing a single start. The team used him extensively in short-yardage situations, as his mobility compared to Rivers allowed the team many different options and kept defenses guessing.
In the 2019 season, which Brissett started for these Colts, he completed 272-of-447 attempts for 2942 yards and an 18-6 TD-INT ratio. He also added some value as a rusher, taking 56 carries for 228 yards and 4 additional TDs. However, despite his efficiency with the ball, the team floundered to a 7-9 finish, and Brissett was cast aside in favor of Rivers in the offseason.
While both QBs might or might not return, it seems the most likely avenue for this team to go with one of these two signal callers into the 2021 season.