Introducing Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck’s Successor for the Indianapolis Colts

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In one of the most shocking developments in NFL history, Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL Saturday night. Luck had been dealing with a calf and ankle injury that had held him out of practice for a large portion of off-season activities. This announcement comes just two weeks before the Colts Week one matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. The immediate fate of the franchise now lies on the shoulders of Jacoby Brissett.

Introducing Andrew Luck’s Successor, Jacoby Brissett

Luck’s stunning retirement certainly is not what the Colts organization wants to see, however, the franchise has a potential star waiting in the wings in Jacoby Brissett. The fourth-year pro out of NC State was originally a Bill Belichick draft pick back in 2016, and became valuable enough as a backup for Indianapolis to trade a former first-round pick for him prior to the 2017 season. Less than a month after being traded for, Brissett was called upon to replace Luck, who was dealing with what would become a season-long shoulder injury.

Brissett made two starts in 2016 while with the New England Patriots, winning one, and throwing for 400 yards on 55 attempts. He appeared in all 16 regular-season games for the Colts in 2017, including starts in the final 15 games of the year. His record as a starter in 2017 was a lowly 4-11, however, he was sacked a league-high 52 times, and the Colts defense was one of the worst in the NFL. Brissett finished 2017 with 3,098 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also added 260 yards and four scores on the ground.

While Luck had to fill the shoes of the legendary Peyton Manning, Luck’s retirement, especially the suddenness of it, now puts Brissett under a microscope. There is no question that the 26-year-old is the quarterback of the immediate future in Indy. However, it also means that he’s going to be subject to harsh scrutiny if he struggles. When healthy, Luck was consistently a Pro Bowl-caliber player. He was also seen as someone who gave the Colts a chance to win week in and week out. The same will be expected from Brissett, and if he fails, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Colts look elsewhere for a long-term answer.

What to Expect From Brissett

Despite being a backup for almost the entirety of his career, Brissett isn’t a typical backup. He’s good enough to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, and several teams have offered as high as a second-round pick to get him. There’s a reason Indianapolis held onto him. He has good size for an NFL quarterback, and the strength to go with that size. He can drive the ball down the field, as well as make accurate throws underneath. On top of that, he’s athletic enough to scramble to pick up a first down. Brissett also generally makes good decisions with the football. His interception rate of 1.5% in 2017 tied Drew Brees, while besting the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Carson Wentz. Additionally, coaches and teammates have also praised Brissett’s ability as a leader.

Unlike 2017, when the Colts offensive line was one of the worst in football, Brissett will be behind one of the league’s premier units this season. His weapons on the outside are also much improved. During the 2017 campaign, no Colt caught for 1,000 yards, and aside from T.Y. Hilton, no other wide receiver managed more than 400 yards. Brissett’s weapons in 2019 include Hilton, free-agent acquisition, Devin Funchess, and Eric Ebron, who ranked second in the league with 13 touchdown receptions a year ago. Not to mention that Indianapolis’ rushing attack should be much better this time around for Brissett. 

This season will be perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity for Brissett. He is immediately in a position to have success, thanks to both the coaching staff, as well as the talent around him. Frank Reich’s offense saw Luck post what was perhaps a career year in 2018, and the talent has improved even further this off-season. Brissett’s talent and potential as an NFL starter are undeniable. The coaches and ownership believe in him. Andrew Luck believes in him. It all boils down to this: Brissett has a chance to become the next great quarterback in an organization that has produced some of the best the league has ever seen.

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