INDIANAPOLIS – As long as Jacob Eason shows some promise this August, the Colts backup quarterback in 2021 is likely to be a guy who has never dressed in an NFL game.
That’s the message the Colts have sent their 4th round pick from last year.
With Jacoby Brissett moving on in free agency—he’s backing up Tua Tagovailoa in Miami—the Colts elected not to make another veteran QB move this offseason.
Yes, they did draft Sam Ehlinger in the 6th round, but the rookie seriously challenging Eason for backup duties is unlikely.
Eason will get the meaningful reps he desperately needs this camp, and in the preseason, to try and earn the backup job behind Carson Wentz.
When Wentz was ill for a few days back in late May, it was Eason actually leading the starting offense during those sessions.
Come camp time, it’ll be Eason as the QB of the second unit and all eyes will be locked in on how he performs.
“I was very pleased with what I saw over the last few weeks with Jacob and where he is at,” new offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said earlier this month. “Physically, you always knew that he could do it, that he had the potential that he was going to improve in those areas because of his arm talent and what he can provide out there. But mentally, you can tell that he took that next step, that he had grown in that area whether it’s making checks at the line, recognizing coverages, recognizing pressures. I thought he did a great job with that. Just the conversations that we were able to have that we weren’t maybe able to have last year because of the quarterback room – it really wasn’t for him to speak up as much, to where this year he is more involved. You can tell that he took control of the unit when he was out there and I thought he did a great job while he was here.
“We’re definitely excited (and) we want to see what he can do now. Yes, we are seeing the growth from last year to this year, but as coaches, we want to grow that trust with him and we want to see that in live action. Looking forward to those opportunities, and he’s still got time as far as to prepare and get ready this offseason as well into training camp. But when he does get that live action in preseason games, those are going to be huge reps for him.”
Preseason games against the Panthers, Vikings and Lions will be massive for Eason to lock up the job that the Colts think he can handle.
If the Colts get through their three preseason games and decide Eason is not ready to handle backup duties, there will be veterans available to sign for the regular season. Currently, QBs on the open market include Robert Griffin III and Matt Barkley.
But it’s largely up to Eason to make the Colts not even think about a potential late-summer signing at quarterback.
As a rookie at training camp, Eason made less than 40 throws in 11-on-11 sessions. He didn’t dress in a single game as QB3.
Things are about to change a whole lot for Eason, and he hopes that’s the case come September, too.
“Completely different situation in the QB room and also being a year older, it’s great,” Eason says. “Having an idea of the offense, having a firm grasp of it going into camp is so much different in Year Two versus Year One. Getting the reps and just going out there and playing football, taking snaps under center, going through progressions – everything. It’s been a blast so far.
“I was learning the mental last year, but I wasn’t getting a lot of the reps. With understanding the mental and now getting the reps, I think those two together will help me be able to show these coaches and these guys some things that I can do.”