Indianapolis Colts: Confidence in the next man up

Russell S. Baxter

Indianapolis Colts: Confidence in the next man up

By Julie Voigt

Special to Pro Football Guru

Every backup wants to be a starter. It’s safe to say when former Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck abruptly retired due to injuries, Jacoby Brissett was locked and loaded and ready to go to take on the role for the Indianapolis Colts. It was a huge step for the second-string quarterback who briefly took the place of Luck during the 2017 season.

Brissett had the desire to be a starter and was slated to become a free agent in 2020. And given the stellar performance of Luck in the 2018 season – the talented pro earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors – the former’s departure seemed inevitable. But general manager Chris Ballard was not going to allow Brissett to go to just anyone after 2019. And thank goodness he didn’t, because after all, Luck needed to stay healthy and that just wasn’t happening this preseason.

And just like that, with just a flick of the magic wand, Jacoby Brissett became a starter after Luck walked away from the game this summer. During the 2019 season, he has had numerous stellar performances leading the team atop of the AFC South with a 5-2 record. That includes earning AFC Offensive Player of the Week in the recent win over the Texans.

There have been a lot of ups and downs this season for this team due to injuries. That includes the absence of wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who will miss his second straight games on Sunday. But this club remains in playoff contention. And Brissett was proof that the Colts could win the big games.

Until last Sunday.

During the Week 9 match-up at Pittsburgh, Brissett suffered an MCL injury to his left knee and the Colts suffered a 26-24 loss. And although it seems promising that there is no long term damage to his injury, it was reported by head coach Frank Reich that Brissett was indeed ruled out for the Week 10 match-up at home vs. the Miami Dolphins.

Cue the next man up.

During the Steelers' match-up, Indianapolis turned to veteran backup Brian Hoyer. A veteran that was signed this season after being released by New England and a quarterback Reich is very familiar with. Hoyer will make his 38th start and after last week’s performance, there should be no reason for concern. While he did serve up pick-six vs. the Steelers, he also completed 17-of-26 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns and spread the football around.

It shows the mastermind of Reich and sticking to his “Next Man Up” mantra. He is prepared for the “what ifs” and mishaps. His confidence in having Hoyer as his backup instead of any other quarterback should not be questioned.

Hoyer has what it takes to step in to the role as Brissett heals. And the genius of Reich is letting Hoyer step in while Brissett rests up. Following their tilt with the Dolphins, it’s worth noting that the Colts’ next three contests are vs. each of their three AFC South rivals.

Make no mistake: If Brissett can’t do it, Hoyer can.

Julie Voigt (@JulieNoted_PFG) is an NFL feature writer for SI Pro Football Guru, the co-founder of @pfgVIBE and the co-host of the @pfgVIBE Cast.

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