Entering training camp, the Colts did not know how long Andrew Luck was going to miss time. The plan was to roll with Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris, and then preseason started. Tolzien could not move the offense throughout the preseason, and Morris outplayed Tolzien, but he is a developmental prospect. With struggles at the QB position, the Colts made the trade for Jacoby Brissett. Brissett had two starts as a rookie for the Patriots, where he went 1-1 as the starter. After an up and down start against the Cards where he still showed promise, Brissett showed that he could be a viable starter in the NFL with a good performance against the Browns.
Poise vs. the blitz.
Jacoby Brissett is mostly thought of as the type QB who does not stand tall and makes accurate throws from the pocket. That narrative was all but shattered after watching the tape from Sunday. Brissett was 17-24, 259 yards, one TD, and a passer rating of 120. Browns defensive coordinator Greg Williams had no respect for Brissett, sending 6-8 man blitzes at different moments during the game. The poise that Brissett showed when facing these blitzes to stay in the pocket and find the open man proved he could be a starter in the NFL.
Let us start with the 31-yard reception to TY Hilton. On this play, the Colts come out in 11 personnel (one tight end, one RB) with three WRs, and Jack Doyle split out wide. The Browns are showing cover one with a safety about 20 yards deep. Brissett motions Doyle into the backfield, and when the safety follows Doyle, this tells him its man-to-man coverage. Brissett also knows he has max protection on this play, with Doyle and Frank Gore staying in to block. Quan Bray and T.Y. Hilton are both running post routes from the slot, with Moncrief running the go route at the top. Post-snap, the Browns send six after Brissett. The blitz is picked up pretty well, but Ogbah beats the right tackle right off the snap. Brissett knows he has Hilton one on one and displays poise under pressure hitting Hilton in stride for the 31-yard gain.
On the next drive, the Colts are in 21 personnel (two TE’s, 1 RB) With Hilton and Moncrief outside. The Browns are in cover one with eight in the box. Willams decides to be a madman and sends eight rushers after Brissett post-snap. You would expect Brissett to bail and run out of the pocket, which he actually could have for big yardage, but he knows he has max protection again. He stands tall in the pocket and pump fakes at Hilton, which gets the safety to commit towards Hilton. He then looks back at Moncrief, which makes the safety stop in his tracks, right before he hits Hilton for a first down.
The following drive, the Browns show cover 1 man again, with the Colts in 11 personnel showing trips to the right of Brissett. Brissett moves Hilton in motion into the slot, and when the corner follows, lets him know it is man to man. Post snap the Browns send six rushers, but Brissett knows he has Hilton on the out route. Hilton runs an awesome route, following Doyle and blocking the corner off giving him easy separation. Brissett stays strong in the pocket and throws a perfect ball while being hit that lands right into the chest of Hilton in stride, and Hilton does the rest.
The Growth of Brissett in just these two games lets you know that he could be a starter down the road for another team. You can tell he is a grinder by the way he learned the playbook so quickly. I am sure the Colts would love to keep him as a backup, but with the tape he is putting out to NFL scouts and evaluators, he could provide great trade value in the offseason to a QB needy team.
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