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Next man up in Indy?

With Philip Rivers announcing his retirement this week at the end of a single season with the Colts, it’s time to look to the future for Indy. But who’s going to take Indy forward? Many seem to have forgotten about this young man…Jacob Eason

Helluva Run Rivers

Before I jump into that, I must say a fond farewell to Philip Rivers. He’s had himself a great career, in the long term with the Chargers, and made the playoffs one final time in a single season with the Colts.

Drafted by the then San Diego Chargers in 2004, in that controversial story with Eli Manning we all know so well, Rivers went on to spend 17 seasons in the league. 8 Pro Bowls, and a comeback player of the year.

Rivers is going to be missed. His authentic throwing motion for one. But it’s his ‘trashtalking’ and unique way of cursing that we’ll miss the most. Rivers is one of the best mic’d up… DAGUMMIT!

But there’s a changing of the guard incoming, and while some believe the Colts need to make something happen urgently, I tend to think otherwise.

Meet Jacob Eason

Hey there’s a whole tonne of benefits to being a QB not drafted in the first round, and that’s exactly where Jacob Eason finds himself. While everybody scratches away at and scrutinises the every move of the young quarterbacks taken in the first round, I haven’t seen a single article or main stream media outlet pressuring Jacob Eason to do anything whatsoever. Drafted out of Washington in round four, Eason has had all year to just sit, and learn.

When there’s a capable QB ahead of you, the pressure is well and truly off. However, when Rivers decided to retire, now all of a sudden the Colts find themselves in a QB situation again, i say again because all this has stemmed from that time when their franchise quarterback upped and left like a fart in the wind. Remember that? Andrew Luck was his name. What a quarterback, the Colts seemed set for many years to come, and on the night I drafted him as my fantasy league quarterback, he retired, aged 29.

Injuries and wanting to spend life with his family. He vanished, almost overnight. It was absolutely mental. And nobody has heard a peep from him since. Odd. But it’s what he wanted and that’s fair enough.

So they turned to Rivers, who had himself a very solid season and goes out on a relative high making it to the playoffs, and I said when they were eliminated that I really don’t believe the Colts are far away from where they need to be. Their roster is solid, they’d made some great moves and have the leaders in place to continue to elevate the team. Darius Leonard. Deforrest Buckner, Kenny Moore had a great year. Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman both looked like brilliant draft picks. Quenton Nelson continues to destroy defensive linemen and backers. They’re a good team! But they’ll need to have this QB situation figured out ASAP, or maybe they already do?

Colts had a plan

The Colts might well be the fortunate recipient of a player who had stories surface around him leading up to the draft. As they do every year, the media builds cases against some players, and Jacob Eason was one of those. It began to make its way round that Eason lacked effort and work ethic. This was never proven with evidence of a name or a source, but it did cost Eason two ish rounds in the draft. Projected as a second round talent, he was finally picked in round 4, and seemed a little miffed at the new stories floating around.

After the draft, Eason said:

“I’m going to go in there as soon as this virus is calmed down and go in there and compete my nuts off, go in there and prove myself as a work horse and a leader and a good football player.”

Who knows where those leaks came from, but it’s interesting that Eason has said he spent more time with the Colts than with anybody else. Very interesting, maybe they likened him to Rivers and expected he could learn a lot from him.

Eason is a similar quarterback description to Philip Rivers. Elite arm talent. Big body guy. Not terribly mobile. Questionable mechanics and well, people have questioned the way Rivers throws a ball his whole career. A perfect match.

Rivers would have been a great mentor for Eason (left)

The issue with Eason is consistency. He has an amazing arm. He can launch a deep ball. But tries to rely on it too often, and ends up making a few bad plays. But the talent is definitely there, and being able to learn from Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett, two strong professionals, will surely have helped him out.

Has he done enough to earn himself the starting job?

That’ll depend. What next Indy?

Currently, Eason is the only QB contracted to the Colts. Rivers has now retired, and Brissetts’ deal came to an end, making him a free agent. Maybe they resign him. Maybe they go after a QB in free agency, such as Mitch Trubisky or Jameis Winston. Or maybe they draft somebody?

The Colts hold pick 21 in the first round of the draft, which could be a position that lands them a Mac Jones, or Kyle Trask. Do they draft a young quarterback, and then allow the new rookie to compete with Eason for the starting role.

The Colts are in a fairly fortunate position in that they have a strong roster. Apart from the fact that franchise left tackle Anthony Castonzo retired in the off season, and they now have a hole to fill there. Castonzo was a full time feature and one of the best tackles in the league, and he’ll be sorely missed. But outside of that, a great 2020 draft with Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman in round two, plus the addition of Deforrest Buckner in exchange for the first rounder, means the Colts have the capacity to do what they please with this first rounder.

See how free agency goes, maybe bring in some vet experience, then assess the draft, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Colts have been prepping Eason for this, knowing all along that there’s a possibility big Phil retires. So get to know the name Jacob Eason because the Colts may well just unleash that man in 2021. We will see…

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