INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL continues to operate business as usual here in the 2020 offseason, with training camps on the horizon.
If everything does begin on time for camps, the Colts will start theirs on July 28th (veterans report day). This year’s camp will take place at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, with the NFL mandating teams stay home for camp due to COVID-19.
With the on-field portion of the spring not happening this season, training camp will be the only time this offseason for players to make an impression on the staff.
It’s time to pick back up our ‘burning questions’ series on 1075TheFan.com.
Here are our burning questions at the quarterback position heading into the 2020 Training Camp:
1. What level of play does Philip Rivers need to reach for the Colts to get back into the playoffs?
By many different metrics, the Colts passing offense was a disaster in 2019.
It’s why the Colts exhausted lots and lots of energy to evaluate their best opportunity to upgrade at that position, even if it’s a short-term fix.
Rivers should be an upgrade over Jacoby Brissett, in getting this offense to create a few more big plays, and find more consistency with its passing offense.
If Rivers can be a top 10-to-15 quarterback in the league this coming season, it should be enough to get this team multiple games above .500.
The Colts will live with a few more turnovers from their quarterback in 2020, as long as some risks lead to more rewards.
What is a bit worrisome is that Rivers, with a pretty talented Chargers roster, has only been in the playoffs one time in the last six seasons. Rivers has won two playoff games in the past decade.
This means that even a solid season from Rivers doesn’t automatically guarantee a playoff appearance/playoff success.
Some quarterback support is still needed from the Colts in order to get back into the postseason.
STAT TO NOTE: Philip Rivers has started 224 consecutive games. That ranks 5th in NFL history, and second among quarterbacks (Brett Favre-297 straight starts).
2. Will Jacoby Brissett really be involved in a handful of plays each week?
First, unless something catastrophic injury wise occurs around the NFL during camp and the preseason, the expectation is Jacoby Brissett will be with the Colts in 2020.
The Colts have even mentioned Brissett possibly being involved in a 5-to-7 play role per game this season.
Seeing exactly how that would look, and the benefits from that, is not crystal clear.
Considering the Colts moves in the draft, would having Brissett touch the ball around 10 percent of the time really be the best route for the offense to take?
We will see how/if Frank Reich ends up having a Brissett package on a weekly basis.
If it happens, let’s just hope it goes better than Andrew Luck lining up at wide receiver or Quenton Nelson at fullback, for the Colts’ sake.
Offensive creativity from Reich is typically a good thing, but this idea gives a little bit more pause.
Again, expect Brissett to be on the Week 1 roster, which is especially true with the awkward COVID-19 impact on the roster this season.
STAT TO NOTE: Brissett finished last season 6th in the NFL in interception rate (1.3%). It was the best rate for a Colts starting quarterback since Jim Harbaugh in 1997.
3. Will Jacob Eason see any game action in 2020?
I’m of the thinking that Eason will definitely make the Colts roster.
Especially given with the shortened offseason, some patience and development is a must with the 4th round pick.
Now, Eason being on the 53-man roster, and then actually dressing/playing is difficult to see unless an injury occurs.
The Colts value Jacoby Brissett in the backup role immensely. Given Philip Rivers’ remarkable durability, plus how the Colts view Brissett, a redshirt year for Eason is the expectation.
While Eason’s development would greatly benefit from seeing some game action (at some point), this is a huge year for him.
His mindset has to fully embrace being a sponge and learning from a quarterback room that is a terrific situation to be a learner.
If for some reason this season does turn down a bad path—and the playoffs are not possible—the Colts should definitely throw Eason into the mix and see what they have in the young QB.
STAT TO NOTE: Eason ended the longest drought in the NFL of a team taking a quarterback, when the Colts selected him 122nd overall back in April. Before that, Chandler Harnish (253rd overall in 2012) was the last quarterback drafted by the Colts.