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Colts Film Room: Jacoby Brissett Shows Real Growth Heading Into Second Half of Season

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After living off of instincts early on, Jacoby Brissett took some large steps towards rounding out his game in Week 8

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Up to this point we have examined a lot of what Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett needs to do to improve his game fundamentally and situationally. When diving into the areas in which he needs to improve, we’ve noticed him holding the ball excessively, failing to pull the trigger in tight windows as well as making adjustments pre-snap to gain an advantage against defenses.

In Week 8, despite the end result coming from a pick-6 off of a tipped ball, Brissett made significant strides in the right direction — as far as I’m concerned — showing that he’s getting more confident with his approach and trusting the process. All wasn’t perfect, and he took some time to get going, but overall we’re seeing more comfort from Brissett which will ultimately lead to better results in the end.

Going forward, Brissett is going to have his hands full with the Colts upcoming schedule as 5 of their last 8 games will put them in matchups against current top-10 overall defenses according to Football Outsiders. Brissett will need to be at his best, so right now couldn’t be a better time for him to begin taking steps towards smoothing out his game and polishing his decision-making skills.

Let’s take a look at his most recent film.

Shades of Weeks Previous

Naturally, to start at the beginning, it looked as if things weren’t going to be any better with Brissett. Keeping it short and to the point, Brissett escapes the initial sack attempt as he rolls out. He has nothing to work with, but instead of throwing the ball away, he holds onto it and takes an unnecessary sack — losing a couple yards.

We’ve seen these sort of mental lapses in the recent past, and with Andrew Luck on the shelf Brissett has to know better than to take any more physical punishment than absolutely necessary. Needless to say, I was very happy to see Brissett improving off of this throughout the remainder of the game.

Improving Between Levels

As I stated earlier, he’s progressing. There’s still significant room to grow for Brissett in terms of his eye-discipline, but you can’t discount the timing and accuracy here. Brissett has two points of interest here; the two underneath defenders, and Kamar Aiken’s timing at the top of his route.

In other words if the two defenders continue to drop, Brissett looks at Jack Doyle, if they close on Doyle — which they obviously did — he has to nail the timing to Aiken. Brissett does just that and shows great patience and anticipation here despite reading only half of the field. I can’t really explain why, but I love a good honey hole shot like this.

Timing, Velocity and Accuracy

This is purely a timing throw which should have been a touchdown, or at least a first down inside the 5-yard line. There’s not much processing for Brissett to do once the ball is snapped, rather he saw the matchup he liked pre-snap. Brissett does just enough to keep the linebackers interested in Doyle — and Doyle does a nice job crossing the linebacker’s face through his route as well — and fires the ball to Aiken who has inside position on his matchup.

Brissett shows good timing on his release, has impressive velocity and could not have put the ball in a better spot to be caught and carried after the catch. It’s a shame Aiken couldn’t haul this in because despite how trivial it may look, it was one of Jacoby’s better throws of the day.

Pinpoint Up the Seam

The All-22 view of this pass absolutely does not do it justice, but from the rear view you can see just how small a window was available to complete this ball to Doyle. The play action certainly helped a bit on this throw, but moreso just to allow Doyle to get beyond the linebackers.

Brissett quickly pulls the ball out, resets his feet and wastes no motion, and takes no extra time deciding whether to let this one go. Brissett threads the needle between two defenders to pick up some much-needed yardage. I could watch this one all day. Beautiful throw with the requisite velocity needed to get it there safely.

Wise Progression

Similar to the last clip, Brissett uses the play action and immediately resets his feet looking to unload the ball quickly. Donte Moncrief’s route simply doesn’t create enough separation given the distance of the throw needed to complete the ball to him.

What looks very natural, Brissett picks up T.Y. Hilton on the crossing route and realigns himself to take a shot at him towards the boundary. If there is any critique on this throw it’d be that Brissett could have unloaded the ball just a half-second earlier, however, this was a beautiful throw on the move regardless of the end result of a ruled incompletion.

Pre-Snap Adjustment Leads to Touchdown

We’ve talked a bit about Brissett making better pre-snap adjustments in order to create more advantageous situations for the offense. Regardless if it looks to be so minimal in this case, he absolutely nails this one and it directly affects the bottom line of 6 points on the board.

If you look at the Bengals defensive line, you can see the linebacker who has Marlon Mack as his assignment. Before the snap Brissett sees it too, and moves Mack to his right side in order to bring the linebacker right of the center as well. That simple move, along with Mack giving the slightest appearance of setting up for protection forces the linebacker to immediately flow towards where Mack lined up.

With perfect timing Mack then makes his cut across the formation and Brissett hits him in time to allow him to make some noise in space. As you can see, Mack’s ability to escape his man was as slim as him getting his arms on only one of Mack’s legs allowing him to maintain his speed and get into the end zone. Great mental awareness here, and I truly hope we see more of this in the very near future.

Ball Placement When it Counts

Here we see Brissett’s second touchdown of the game which, in addition to excellent accuracy and timing, can actually attributed to play design. Again, simplifying Brissett’s reads to one half of the field which doesn’t really give away his intended target.

Doyle and Hilton use a scissors concept to open up Doyle towards the sideline and Brissett puts the ball up for Doyle to go get it, and releases the ball while the defender’s back is still towards him. Ultimately I think you want to see this ball a touch more towards the boundary, however, it was up enough to where the linebacker had no chance to get up and make a play on the ball.

Week 8 was a much better outing for Brissett. Without the unfortunate pick-6 that proved to be the difference in the game, he would have put forward a dominating effort for his third win of the season. Of course that didn’t occur, but I think you have to feel good about what he put forth as the Colts head into the second half of the season.