With Andrew Luck out indefinitely, the Indianapolis Colts may have a quarterback controversy on their hands.
The Colts turned to Tolzien on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, and his 2017 debut was nothing short of disastrous. The 30 year old quarterback completed 9 of 18 throws for 128 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions (both returned for touchdowns), and an abysmal passer rating of 33.8.
With Tolzien behind center, the Colts simply struggled, going 0-9 on third down.
It wasn’t until the early 4th quarter, when the Colts benched Tolzien for Brissett that the Indianapolis offense showed any signs of life, as the big armed Brissett connected with Donte Moncrief on a 50-yard bomb on his 1st passing attempt and shortly thereafter, led the Colts to their first and only touchdown scoring drive of the game.
Regarding a potential quarterback change, while head coach Chuck Pagano said the team is contemplating a change, he stopped short of signaling that Brissett will be his new starting quarterback behind center on Monday:
“It’s something that we’ll discuss later tonight and tomorrow as we game plan,” Pagano said via the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer. “You gotta do what’s best for the football team and give us the best chance to move the ball and put points on the board.”
The ‘best chance to move the ball and put points on the board’ is clearly Brissett.
He did in one throw, what the light armed Tolzien failed to do in 3 quarters:
Now this is an NFL throw — Jacoby Brissett's first as a Colt. Great adjustment by Donte Moncrief as well. pic.twitter.com/YnlljxuKqA
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) September 11, 2017
That’s not to say that there won’t be some growing pains with Brissett, who’s only a few weeks removed from playing for the Patriots and is still cramming to learn the Colts offensive playbook–while having only limited practices with his new team.
However, the 6’4″, 235 pound quarterback is blessed with a big arm and surprising mobility, and simply put, is much more naturally gifted than Tolzien as far as physical measurables are concerned. Even being behind the learning curve, I’d still trust him over Tolzien right now as the Colts starting quarterback.
If nothing else, the 23 year old quarterback has a much brighter future than Tolzien and should be groomed to be the long-term backup quarterback here, as opposed to Tolzien–who while seems like a genuinely good guy, is best served holding the clipboard and being purely a veteran soundboard for Luck at all times.
If it’s a rebuild in Indianapolis, why not actually build towards something?
On Sunday, Tolzien showed little pocket awareness, held onto the football for far too long, and simply made costly mistakes. He also tends to either be too late or float routine throws, which is a recipe for disaster in the fast paced play that is NFL secondaries:
Not picking on Scott Tolzien, but this is what we saw a lot of in camp. Just not an NFL throw. pic.twitter.com/3K8KXyuDn0
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) September 11, 2017
In 2011, we saw when the Colts struggled because backup quarterback Curtis Painter would consistently sail throws that even sure handed future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne couldn’t catch. If a quarterback can’t consistently make the routine throws and move the chains, a team cannot win in the NFL.
It’s no coincidence that the Colts finished 2-14 during that forgettable season.
The Colts don’t need Brissett or any other backup quarterback for that matter to try to be Andrew Luck because that’s not going to realistically happen. Rather, the offense simply needs a quarterback who can consistently make the routine throws and hit receivers when they’re open–while occasionally challenging the secondary down the field to keep opposing defenses honest.
Move the chains here and there and at least give playmakers like T.Y. Hilton a chance to do what they do best: make a play.
Most importantly, the Colts offense cannot afford to make turnovers and even more so, give up points off turnovers, as the offense handed the Rams 16 points directly off turnovers on Sunday.
Without Luck, they’re simply not a prolific enough offense to make up those points, and their defense isn’t strong enough to shut down opposing offenses otherwise, as it’s at best an average to below average unit–maybe much worse.
But make no mistake about it, until #12 returns, Brissett is the best option for the Colts behind center.
Just look at last weekend’s tape. Tolzien proved it.