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Tale of the Tape: Colts New QB Jacoby Brissett Pt I Passing

Were the Colts justified in bringing in QB Jacoby Brissett as the long-term backup plan for Luck?

NFL: New York Giants at New England Patriots Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts surprised the NFL world yesterday when they traded former 2015 1st Round draft pick Phillip Dorsett to the New England Patriots. To call the return on a first round investment disappointing is an understatement and so fans were understandably shocked at the trade.

Stampede Blue will go into greater detail on the trade in another story but we wanted to take a good look at what Brissett may bring to the table and why Ballard and the Colts front office targeted him. Keep in mind that the majority of these plays show positives and do not show all of his incompletions, completions, and does not show his fumble last year in the regular season.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at Jacoby Brissett and see what he might bring to the quarterback room that differentiates him from backups Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris.


Brissett went a long way toward making an impression on the NFL community during the fourth preseason game a few short days ago. He took every snap under center during that game and put up an impressive stat line completing 28-of-39 passes for 341 yards, 4 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, and a rushing touchdown.

This is the first of his four passing touchdowns and shows a very well thrown ball on a fade route that clears the defender and allows the receiver to remain in bounds.

From another angle you can see that the ball was pretty much perfect. It was high enough that the receiver could go up and get it and placed in a difficult spot for the defender to make a play on it.

This is another fade route thrown perfectly over the shoulder of the receiver and over the top of the corner in coverage. These are definitely big boy throws that NFL caliber quarterbacks have to make.

While we won’t go into great detail on his scrambling ability in the first of this two-part series, this play shows that not only is Brissett comfortable going through his progressions and running with the ball if nothing is there, his internal clock was perfect as the pocket started to collapse around him. Throw in that he makes a very hard cut that causes the safety to completely whiff and this is a nice piece of work.

This is a throw made closer to the end zone and can be dangerous. If you don’t put enough strength behind the throw and place it in a perfect spot, it is easy to get picked off here. Brissett puts a lot of zip on the ball though and it arrives in a place where the receiver could catch it but the defender would have had to wrap around the receiver’s body to knock it away or attempt to pick it off.


Even on the touchdown throws, it is easy to see that Brissett throws a pretty football. These are tight spirals with a lot of velocity behind them that seem like pinpoint strikes to his receivers. This is another example on a seam route in the middle of the field. He hits his receiver in stride and in the numbers.

We recently broke down a pretty pass made by Stephen Morris on a seam route like this one in relatively tight coverage. When three defenders are around the target, the turnover risk spikes. However, Brissett puts the ball high enough to clear the defender in front of his target and allows the right end to go up and get the ball. It takes confidence to make this throw and he does a very nice job.

Another attribute we saw with Stephen Morris was the ability to throw a nice deep ball. Similar to Morris, Brissett does a nice job of getting the ball up and hits the receiver in stride over the top of the defenders for a big gain. The ball travels 47 yards in the air and is right in the receiver’s bread basket.

This is another example of a deep ball, where the throw travels over 30 yards in the air and is to big receiving tight end Martellus Bennett. Even with a trailing defender, one in tight coverage, and one over the top, Brissett puts the ball up and far enough toward the sideline to give Bennett the best chance of catching the ball.

While this is an incompletion, this ball was on the money. He is facing pressure in his face but still make a nice pass that travels perfectly along the boundary and hits the receiver right in his arms. This is an in-stride throw made 35-yards down the field that may over otherwise been a touchdown.


While Brissett certainly made mistakes as a rookie filling in last year, this is the mistake he made against the Giants in the fourth preseason game this year. You can see that he locks onto his target running a swing route and it is read by the defensive end the whole way. Brissett doesn’t recognize it fast enough and throws right into the defender’s face.

What I like to see is that in the same game and on a similar route, Brissett learns from the earlier lesson. He makes a nice pump-fake to get the blitzing safety to leave his feet. He then calmly steps inside and make an easy catch to his target.


While we saw a lot from Brissett on downfield throws, there weren’t as many timing routes. This isn’t entirely unexpected from a player who doesn’t get to work as much with the receivers but it was good to see him have nice timing on a pass made to the back shoulder of his receiver on a curl.


Another important attribute for any quarterback with hopes of having an NFL career is being able to make quick throws with pressure coming in your face. During the regular season last year, Miami brings a blitz through the middle of the line and lays a big hit on Brissett but he finishes the pass and hits his receiver in the middle of the field.

The film shows that Brissett throws tight spirals with nice velocity. He is accurate, particularly on his deep throws, and is capable of learning from his mistakes. His pass first, then run mentality is in line with Andrew Luck’s mentality on a football field and that comfort making deep passes is valuable in a Chudzinski style offense.

He seems like a good fit overall and, frankly, I like both Morris and Brissett over Tolzien at this point. It is also nice that Brissett has experience running an NFL offense during the regular season with a modified playbook and has been able to close out one game and win another as a rookie. If the fourth preseason game is any indication, he has come a long way in a year and the needle may still be pointing up.