INDIANAPOLIS – For those wanting to see Jacob Eason take a snap in 2020, keep hoping.
Unless an injury occurs to Philip Rivers and/or Jacoby Brissett, the continued expectation is Eason will remain a healthy inactive every single week.
That’s especially true as the Colts (4-2) look like a team that will be in the thick of battling for a playoff spot deep into the regular season.
Behind the scenes, work for Eason is nowhere near as flashy as starting as a true freshman in the SEC (which Eason did in 2016 for Georgia) or for your hometown college team (which Eason did in 2019 at Washington).
Yet, it’s a year that cannot go to waste, even if the physical reps are really limited.
What is a normal week like for Eason right now?
Let Frank Reich explain:
“He’s obviously in all the meetings,” Reich said of Eason. “He’s not getting a whole lot of scout team reps. That’s pretty normal. As the year goes on, he’ll start to get some scout team reps. Jacoby takes most of those because he’s the second priority, in getting him ready. Jacob does a good job of getting engaged. Philip does a really good job with Jacoby and Jacob. They have a lot of side meetings. I can just tell you as a former player, this is where the gold is at for Jacob. He is in there early with Philip and Jacoby, and they are watching the third-down tape by themselves, drawing up the plays, talking it through the three of them. They are doing that for red zone and they’re doing that in our base game plan. Jacob is going to learn a lot from being in our offensive unit meetings and he is going to learn a lot being out at practice and getting work. But the most mental development – this is at least with my experience as well – was being in the quarterback room with just the quarterbacks hearing the thought process from a player’s perspective all the time. I’m just telling you, that is gold and he is getting that from Philip and Jacoby in ways that will be really significant to his growth.
“Then after practice, (Eason’s) doing a great job of working hard. He stays after every practice and throws. Sometimes I go down there with him and watch him and kind of work through it a little bit with him, but mostly it’s (quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady). He’s doing a great job.”
Among all the players particularly hurt by no preseason games in 2020, Eason is near the top of that list.
While the sponge-like mindset for Eason is necessary right now, those physical game reps without a red jersey would have been really beneficial for his own development, and for the Colts getting to see him in live settings. Unlike virtually every other QB drafted this past April, Eason had limited starting experience in college, being the guy under center for only 14 games since 2017.
Back when the Colts took Eason with the 122nd overall pick this spring, Reich detailed a few key areas where the team and player needed to see growth.
The arm talent continues to wow everybody, including Rivers.
As the Colts look ahead to 2020, Eason remains the only quarterback currently under contract, with Rivers and Brissett both in contract years.
Will the Colts see enough from Eason behind the scenes, in meetings and in limited practice action, to believe he can give this team something of note next season?
It won’t be a flashy 2020 campaign for Eason, but it’s still a really important learning season as he tries to push for a more prominent role down the road.
“I saw great arm strength to make throws outside of the number, decision making continuing to get better and better when he’s dropping back to pass the football,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said of Eason during training camp. “I keep seeing improved ‘get us into the right play, get the people in the right position to do their job,’ handling the different looks the defense gives us and that’s really exciting. That’s a hard part—to play football and process everything at the same speed. I’m just seeing continued development there.”