If I told you the Colts’ quarterback had a 71% completion percentage, averaged 7 yards per play and 215 yards per game, on top of 7 touchdowns to just one interception (112 passer rating), you’d think Andrew Luck had done a pretty damn good job in his first three games of the season. Thing is, those are Jacoby Brissett’s numbers and they’ve come against three good teams, with two of those teams having top 10 defenses.
Luck’s best three game start came in 2014 where he went 86/126 (68.3%), averaged 304 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play, as well as 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions (99.7 passer rating). Brissett’s 3 game start this year has been better than Luck’s best 3 game start.
This isn’t about comparing Luck to Brissett, because that’s an unfair game to play, but it is valid to point out that Brissett is playing at a very high level right now, a level that even a great player like Andrew Luck would have some issue matching.
2-1 Start the Best since 2013
If we’re being honest, the Colts should be 3-0. The special teams errors in Week 1 cost the Colts a win. The Colts have never been fast starters and have gone 3-0 to start the season only once since 2008. They weren’t gifted an easy few weeks, unlike the Cowboys or Patriots, as the Colts had to play on the road against a tough playoff team in the LA Chargers, a division rival in their backyard and then the Falcons who could beat any team on any week.
The Colts are averaging over 23 points per game, which is about 3 points less than their average from last season. What’s more encouraging is that it’s a full touchdown more than what the Brissett Colts averaged in 2017. Of course, the team has changed significantly since then, but it shows that Brissett has become a much better quarterback too.
Avoiding Negative Plays
Avoiding negative plays is the key to strong quarterback play. Tom Brady has never thrown more than 14 interceptions in a season. Rodgers has only thrown more than 10 interceptions twice in his career. Patrick Mahomes has only turned the ball over 13 times in 19 career games. The best quarterbacks avoid turnovers.
In his game vs Atlanta, of the 37 pass attempts I charted, Brissett made one throw that I deemed to be turnover worthy. It happened in the 2nd quarter on a slant pass to TY Hilton. The ball was slightly behind Hilton and Isaiah Oliver was able to fully get his hand on it. If he had made an athletic play, he could’ve made the interception, but it would not have been easy.
Brissett plays a lot like Tom Brady, who he had the privilege of learning under for a full season and a training camp. Brady does a great job putting the ball in the right place where only the receiver can get it. He doesn’t force throws, always makes the right decisions and his offense gives him a lot of good looks. That sounds like a lot like Brissett over the last 3 weeks and his 2.7% turnover worthy throw percentage is extremely low and impressive.
His lone interception of the year came against the Titans to a well covered receiver and the pass was thrown behind. The defensive back made a great play on the ball. If we count drops as completions and eliminate throwaways from pass attempts, Brissett’s true completion percentage is 77.5%. He is hitting on nearly 80% of his throws intended for his receivers.
If Brissett continues to lead an offense that has 2 turnovers through 3 games, the Colts offense should end up being a top 10 unit come year’s end.
He Looks Like the Future
Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Jimmy Garoppolo, Carson Wentz and Baker Mayfield; those are 6 star, franchise quarterbacks that Jacoby Brissett has outplayed through 3 games.
Is three games a small sample size? Yes and I’m not saying you take Brisett over those 6 listed quarterbacks, but it shows that Brissett can hang with the top guys in this league and has top 10 NFL quarterback potential. Brissett is only 26 years old and most consider a quarterback’s prime to be in their late 20s and early 30s.
Quarterbacks grow within their system. It’s part of the reason why I think Andrew Luck’s potential was never fully reached because he always playing under different offenses (he played in 4 different systems in 7 years). Brissett has clearly operated at a high level under Frank Reich; Reich is a fantastic play caller who gives Brissett a lot of good looks on roll-outs and play-action fakes. His timing is superb and reads a game very well. This has benefited Brissett a lot, who came from a pure spread system in college, where he did little to no post snap reading.
Brissett still has some issues going through a few progressions, and Reich might still have a bit of a leash on him, but it’s clear that Reich and Sirianni have walked Brissett through the NFL game extremely well. He possesses a great attitude and is a player that people like. I’d turn off film of Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm, because it looks like Jacoby is going to be a Colt for awhile.