“The job is Jacob’s right now … and he’s gotta earn it. But he’s in the driver’s seat.” — Frank Reich on Jacob Eason with Carson Wentz out the next several weeks— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 2, 2021
The strong vote of confidence from his head coach comes just minutes after it was reported that starting quarterback Carson Wentz will miss 5-12 weeks—after electing for surgery to correct his recently injured foot.
Of course, the Colts don’t have much of an alternative to Eason right now.
There’s also rookie 6th round pick Sam Ehlinger and recently signed veteran, Brett Hundley, and a young, former undrafted quarterback named Jalen Morton (i.e., the Colts’ cupboard at quarterback is collectively pretty barren right now).
Due to COVID-19, Eason didn’t get the luxury of having any preseason snaps in 2020, and he essentially got zero formal practice snaps—playing behind both ironman Philip Rivers and top backup Jacoby Brissett this past season.
However, he did get to witness team practices, attend quarterback meetings, use both Rivers and Brissett as veteran soundboards, and throw on the side with now elevated Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady. He has a year of learning the Colts’ playbook too.
These next few weeks of training camp practice running the Colts’ first-team offense will be critical for the young quarterback. Those are invaluable reps.
Eason has size and a huge arm, but he’ll need to work on his progression of reads, not locking onto receivers, his soft touch on short distance throws, and handling overall pocket pressure.
He’ll have a serious audition for the Colts to show what ‘he’s truly got’ by playing meaningful snaps during presumably an extended period of time to start the season.
Right now, much of the Colts’ fanbase would rather let Eason showcase what he is, than sign a retread journeyman veteran backup, who the team already knows isn’t the answer—either now or for the long-term future.
The ball is firmly in Eason’s court—to impress or regress.