Jacoby Brissett Struggling After Bye Week
Don Juan Moore | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – It’s the debate that has come with Jacoby Brissett’s extended job interview here in 2017.
Is Brissett---the 24-year-old quarterback who was taken in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft---a starting quarterback in this league? Or is he simply a capable backup, who is now being exposed the longer he’s on the field?
Going into the bye week two weeks ago, Brissett certainly looked like a future starting quarterback in this league.
But in the last two weeks, facing two teams (Tennessee and Jacksonville) for a second time this season, Brissett has regressed a bit.
In consecutive losses, Brissett is just 38-of-65 (58 percent), averaging 185 yards per game, throwing 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
The red-zone issues have only grown, with the Colts going 1-of-6 in that part of the field the last two weeks.
Chuck Pagano, who is hardly one to publically detail a player’s struggles, will not go there with Brissett, despite the numbers indicating otherwise.
“He’s battling like everybody else,” Pagano says. “There’s a lot of really good stuff there. He battled his tail off (last Sunday), got out of harm’s way a bunch, extended some plays and made some plays down the field. When we had a clean pocket, he made some really nice throws. Always going to be a couple that you’d love to have back, but he’s battling and he’s giving everything that he has.
“Again, nobody likes where we’re at as a football team, numbers and all those things, because, really, the only thing that matters is winning and losing. At the end of the day, we’re sitting where we’re sitting and nobody likes where we’re at.”
Seeing the Titans and Jaguars for a second time has certainly played into Brissett’s dip in production.
With defensive coordinators getting another look at the 24-year-old QB, game plans have been successful in making things difficult for Brissett.
The struggles in pass protection have not ceased either, with Brissett being sacked 12 times the last two weeks.
Have the hits Brissett continually takes week-after-week started to take its toll?
“He’s wired the right way and he’s a mentally tough kid,” Pagano says. “He doesn’t let that stuff affect him. Physically, it’ll take its toll. Eventually they add up. If you can keep hitting a guy, they add up. You get a guy to start dropping his eyes and not looking down the field and trying to extend plays. They don’t like to get hit. Physically, it can add up and take its toll, but he’s doing a great job. He’s tough as nails.”
The toughness for Brissett has never been questioned.
But his play the last two games has not matched the upward trend he carried into the team’s bye week.
With a month to go in the regular season, Brissett still has an opportunity to sway the skeptics back to the “starting quarterback” description when predicting the NFL future for him.
Earlier this week, Pagano pointed out some areas for improvement.
“You would love to see (Brissett) continue to grow as far as the playbook goes,” Pagano says. “Managing things at the line of scrimmage as far as a communication standpoint. Eliminate turnovers. Make great decisions. (Improve) completion percentage. All those things. Get the ball out. Go through the reads and progressions. Those things are starting to slow down a bit for him.
“Again, he’s a young player thrown into a difficult situation and he’s done a more than admirable job.”