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Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Eason era is here and that’s not a bad thing

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I’ve never been one of those “I told you so” individuals. There’s no real reason to point at someone and remind them of your prediction and their procrastination. It’s anything but professional and certainly can be construed as arrogant and perhaps even rude, so I won’t mention my previous column about the Colts’ quarterback debacle. (Wink.)

All those observations aside, the sudden and unfortunate injury Carson Wentz recently experienced at training camp brings all of this into a rather clear perspective if one were inclined to query me.

First, let’s frame the Wentz injury properly and refrain from the mantra that screams the guy can’t stay healthy long enough to lead a team to a deep playoff run.
His latest setback could easily be categorized as both untimely and freakish considering the medical report that indicated the problem that led to his foot injury has probably existed since high school but never reared its head until now, but that’s not really the point of my — shall we say — observations.

The Colts were convinced that not only could they revive Wentz’s career by virtue of his history with head coach Frank Reich, but they were also rolling the dice on him remaining healthy. All of this was predicated on the misguided assessment of this being a Super Bowl-quality roster that lacked a seasoned quarterback.

Now that plan B has been forced down their throat, it’s time for General Manager Chris Ballard and company to hand the signal calling to Jacob Eason. I mean, there are worse things than a 23-year-old, 6-foot-6, 230-pound guy with both a strong arm and good mobility lining up to take the snaps this season. Many of you will point to the fact that he hasn’t taken a snap in an NFL game before as a concern, but l will not.

This team had deficiencies on both sides of the ball when it reported to camp, and while the quarterback position was the biggest question, honestly, what has really changed with Wentz now injured?

This team, while optimistic about their chances for improvement, isn’t even in the conversation to win the AFC, so what’s wrong with seeing what Eason can do with a roster that’s riddled with more injuries beyond the coveted quarterback position?

Perhaps a page from the Los Angeles Chargers’ playbook might come in handy.
Facing a similar situation last year after game two of the regular season, which saw starter Tyrod Taylor go down, they handed the keys to an inexperienced Justin Herbert, who went on to throw for over 4,300 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The Colts need to discard the conventional wisdom of bringing in another experienced veteran who can hold things down until a possible return by Wentz and just throw Eason in the fire. Find out what he can do and take the lumps that come with developing him. Look away from the adversity that many are citing and embrace the possibilities of what might be.

Eason sounds confident when he speaks about the opportunity before him and states he’s ready to lead the offense. This season is far from being written off, and while there may be a number of players banged up early in training camp, Eason isn’t one of them. His time is now and he wants the ball. The question is: Will the Colts push all their chips to the middle of the table and proclaim him to be the guy come opening day?

Notes: Speaking of discarding traditional wisdom and resisting the urge of signing a veteran quarterback, Philip Rivers released a statement saying he won’t rule out a return to the NFL. The Colts wasted both a ton of money and time with him last season and will hopefully be smart enough to let his agent’s call go to voicemail and not return it.

If one foot injury isn’t enough, the Colts suffered another major blow when All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson sustained a foot injury similar to Wentz’s. While the early predictions for recovery are optimistic, more than likely both Wentz and Nelson will miss the first eight games of the regular season.

Danny Bridges, who for the second time in a year is sounding more like Eason’s agent than a Jimmy Olsen wannabe, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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