Colts: 3 things Jacob Eason must improve to cement backup job in 2021
By Jerry Trotta
The Indianapolis Colts haven’t had a genuine battle for the backup quarterback job in several seasons, as Jacoby Brissett, despite being thrust into the full-time role after Andrew Luck retired before the 2019 campaign, has given Indy a quality option as a second-stringer.
This year’s a different story, as Brissett signed with Miami in free agency, clearing the way for Jacob Eason to cement his place behind new starter Carson Wentz.
It remains to be seen what Eason can offer at the NFL level, however. The 2020 fourth-round pick essentially red-shirted as a rookie after preseason was canceled while the truncated offseason provided limited opportunities for him to showcase his skillset.
With a full training camp and three-game preseason slate in place this time around, Eason will have every opportunity to prove he deserves the backup gig. However, what part of his game does the second-year QB have to improve to leave no doubt it’s his job to lose?
What does Jacob Eason have to do to secure the backup job?
3. Going Through Progressions
A big knock on Eason coming out of Washington was getting through progressions and going through multiple reads in a timely fashion.
The NFL obviously moves a lot faster than college, let alone the Pac-12, so Eason better have been working at refining his ability to read a defense.
Jacob Eason could be in trouble if he struggles reading NFL defenses.
Most, if not all, rookie quarterbacks struggle with this. Even 2020 rookie standouts Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow took some time to get over the hump. However, since Eason is a ways behind them in his development and the talent department, he needs to show progress.
General manager Chris Ballard acknowledged at the end of the season that Eason was simulating going through reads with his headset on during games. That’s a promising sign and further proves the 23-year-old is motivated to be the best version of himself.
For his sake, let’s hope that Eason, who newly-promoted offensive coordinator Marcus Brady has been impressed by this offseason, has continued to put in the work. If he’s able to recognize what a defense is giving him, there shouldn’t even be a competition for the backup job.