Colts should start Jacob Eason if they fall out of playoff picture

Colts QB Jacob Eason (Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports)
Colts QB Jacob Eason (Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Colts shouldn’t think twice about starting rookie Jacob Eason at quarterback if they fall out of the playoff picture.

We can’t help but smile knowing that GM Chris Ballard’s rebuild of the Indianapolis Colts’ roster is almost complete. The consensus remaining moves for him to orchestrate include adding a long-term answer at quarterback, a certified stud at wide receiver, and another stout edge rusher to pair alongside Justin Houston and DeForest Buckner.

However, as nice as it is to realize how close Indianapolis is to competing for a championship, finding a franchise gunslinger is easier said than done. While the Colts will have their pick of the litter given their salary cap space and appealing trade chips, there doesn’t project to be a plethora of feasible options.

With that in mind, fans are justified in questioning if Philip Rivers should remain the starter if the team falls out of the playoff picture down the stretch. If we learned anything from this past Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, it’s that the 38-year-old gunslinger is incapable of moving the ball downfield vs some of the better defenses in the NFL.

If Indy ultimately succumbs to its gauntlet of remaining fixtures and Rivers’ fluctuating style of play, fans should demand that rookie Jacob Eason gets some quality run under center to close out the campaign.

Seriously, what do the Colts have to lose by handing Eason the keys to the offense for the remainder of the season? Rivers is a gamer and competitor in every sense of the word, but he’s also a professional who knows that he was signed to be a stopgap option under center. We would guess that he wouldn’t cause any problems if he was to be “benched” in favor of Eason.

With nothing to play for, Indianapolis might as well see what it has in the 2020 fourth-round pick, who received rave reviews throughout training camp (despite limited reps) for his astounding arm strength and ability to pick up the playbook.

Depending on how the rest of the AFC playoff picture pays out, it will probably be another three or four weeks before we get a better idea of the Colts’ fate. That would give Eason a solid four games to get his feet wet and stake his claim as the potential backup option in 2021.

Who knows, maybe he lights it up and gives the coaching staff something to think about entering the offseason.

That’s probably wishful thinking, but it would at least make the remainder of the season meaningful. If Rivers keeps the starting job in the event that the Colts are far out of contention, literally nobody on the roster — including the coaching staff and front office — would benefit.