The Colts overhauled their 2019 roster for the upcoming season. Here is an assessment for each offensive position group, determining which improved and which didn’t.
The Colts have a completely different roster in comparison to last season. The front office has upgraded at virtually every position. From offensive skill positions to the defensive line, the team has improved to a surefire playoff team. With that said, here is a prediction for which Colts offensive position groups will improve or worsen heading into 2020.
1. Quarterback group
2019 QB Group
Starter: Jacoby Brissett
Backup: Brian Hoyer
3rd String/Practice Squad: Chad Kelly
2020 QB Group
Starter: Philip Rivers
Backup: Jacoby Brissett
3rd String: Jacob Eason (R)
The Colts’ QB room was one of the weakest offensive position groups on the roster in 2019. Starter Jacoby Brissett had an incredible start to the season, posting 14 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions while leading the team to a 5-2 record.
Disaster struck from there; Brissett strained his MCL in a Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team lost its next game to the bottom-feeder Miami Dolphins when backup Brian Hoyer stepped in. Brissett returned the following week and finished the season at 2-5 with a touchdown to interception ratio of only 1.3 (4 TD, 3 INT).
Brissett was 23rd in QBR last season with a rating of 88.0 and 34th in passing yards per game (196.1). While Chris Ballard and the front office declared their faith in the young QB prior to the beginning of last season, it was clear that the ship that once carried those feelings of confidence had sailed.
This past offseason, the team made major upgrades at the position. Starting in free agency, the team signed Pro Bowler, Philip Rivers, to replace Brissett at the starting spot. It was an immediate upgrade moving forward for the team; Rivers has played in head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni’s system with much success.
Reich and Sirianni were a part of the Chargers’ coaching staff from 2013-2015(Reich as QB Coach/OC and Sirianni as Offensive Quality Control Coach/QB Coach). Rivers had two great seasons statistically and flourished even more from 2016-2018 (Reich’s system was kept as he moved onto Philadelphia), making three straight Pro Bowls in that span. Rivers has the opportunity to flourish once again behind the best offensive line in the NFL and with a stacked RB room (we’ll touch on that later).
The Colts didn’t stop with just Rivers. The team drafted Jacob Eason in the 4th round of the NFL Draft. Eason has arguably the strongest arm in his class and, with some tie to develop, could end up being the Colts’ long-term franchise QB once Rivers decides to retire.
The verdict: Improvement