One of the easiest things to do in life is to throw a Band-Aid on something temporarily and avoid the proper solution. Case in point with the Indianapolis Colts and their quarterback conundrum.
Ever since the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck, the ongoing debate of what to do long term at West 56th Street has continued, and recently it reached an unnecessary crescendo with the swan song season of Philip Rivers, who wasn’t the right guy to begin with as much as he was the best available veteran. His deal was just for one year, and while it was without question a cost-prohibitive one, the bigger problem is it delayed the inevitable for another season and put the franchise even further behind in terms of developing Luck’s replacement.
An even bigger problem is the misconception that this Colts roster is a Super Bowl contender and warrants a veteran quarterback who can put them over the top and secure another championship.
This team needs upgrades at several positions, and while a new field general is at the top of their to-do list, there is a lot more needed than just plugging in a veteran quarterback and sitting back and watching it all unfold.
The Colts have already determined that Jacoby Brissett is an afterthought, and he’ll likely be changing ZIP codes soon via free agency. That makes the decision even easier and sets the stage for a long-overdue change in strategy from people who are smarter than yours truly when it comes to football operations.
Biting the bullet is never easy, but it’s high time a youth movement began, and there’s a player on the roster and under contract who’s screaming for a chance. That would be one Jacob Eason, and he just may be the diamond in the rough that is so desperately needed at this most critical juncture.
Colts General Manager Chris Ballard thought enough of Eason to draft him in the fourth round and while he never proclaimed the young man to be the next Johnny Unitas, the evaluation process has been derailed by both the pandemic and the ill-advised signing of Rivers. That has to change, and the Colts need to get younger at quarterback, so why not give a young guy with size and a strong arm to boot the reins in day one of training camp?
The hope of acquiring an established signal caller through free agency with more than just something left in the tank is beyond a pipe dream, so l say let the Eason era begin.
He’s already stated he’s ready and feels he’s up to the task, so why not roll the dice with a player with mobility and youth on his side? Before you remind me how tough the NFL is on quarterbacks, let me remind you how tough it is on retreads, even those like Rivers who is headed to Canton after a $25 million stop in the Indianapolis metro area.
I don’t fault him for taking the deal and satisfying his final urge for playing the game he loved, but the Colts knew it was a stretch (kind word for it) when they inked the contract. For those of you who say Eason does not have what it takes, explain to me what you know about his future sight unseen. I like his recent bravado, and the fact that he’s not in his 30s is a plus.
Those obvious advantages aside, it’s time to see what the young man can do. Go ahead and sign a veteran backup, but just make sure he knows Eason is No. 1 on the depth chart until he plays himself out of the job. Let the youth movement begin for the Colts and find out what this guy can do now and don’t waste another year. Telling people smarter than me to start taking your lumps and develop rookie talent seems like a bold thing to do, but it’s the right move for a franchise that may have forgotten that a big guy with mobility and a strong arm is just what they need.
Refusing to commit for yet another year is beyond negligible, and they just might find the player they need is already in the fold. The only remaining question is what the heck are they waiting for?
Danny Bridges, who thinks Jacob Eason just might make Chris Ballard look like a genius, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.