In what has become somewhat of a regular occurrence, the Indianapolis Colts have an issue at the quarterback position. Carson Wentz went to Indy via trade this offseason, but he recently went down with an injury that could keep him out five to 12 weeks.
Colts fans must fear not, though, as Wentz — who has seen a second-stringer find success before — could potentially see another backup play well in his absence: former Georgia and Washington quarterback Jacob Eason.
Jacob Eason is the Colts’ quarterback after seeing Carson Wentz go down with an injury
A broken bone, though, recently came loose in the QB’s left foot, which could be a result of an old injury that possibly occurred during his high school days. Wentz has since had surgery and could be out anywhere from five to 12 weeks.
“Knowing Carson, I’m optimistic,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said, per ESPN. “Knowing this is the type of injury you don’t have to be pain-free to play in. You have to get to an acceptable level of tolerating pain and then you can start playing. That could happen early.”
Wentz’s wide recovery timetable is due to players recovering at different paces, so Indy probably won’t know when he can actually return for another couple of weeks.
But until then, Jacob Eason is the Colts’ starting quarterback.
“The job is Jacob’s right now … and he’s gotta earn it. But he’s in the driver’s seat,” Reich said, per The Athletic’s Zak Keefer.
Other than Eason, Indianapolis has the recently signed Brett Hundley, as well as Sam Ehlinger and Jalen Morton.
So, who is Eason?
Eason was a five-star quarterback coming out of high school, per 247Sports, and had a successful 2016 season at Georgia. He threw for 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns, and eight interceptions as a freshman. However, in Georgia’s 2017 season-opener, he suffered a knee injury. Jake Fromm then came in and led the Bulldogs to the national championship game.
Eason later played for Washington in 2019 and threw for 3,132 yards, 23 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, which led to the Colts selecting him in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Dan Orlovsky thinks Jacob Eason can play well at quarterback for the Colts
Luckily for Eason, he’s not a rookie. He was the team’s third-string quarterback behind Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett in 2020. So, he already has a solid understanding of the team’s offense.
He also, though, has a great team around him. So, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky thinks he can play well while Carson Wentz recovers from his injury, especially since Indianapolis has one of the best offensive lines and top defenses in football.
“I think everyone needs to relax,” Orlovsky said on the Aug. 2 episode of NFL Live. “…What do you need as a young quarterback to play good to really good football? You have to have a great defense, so you don’t have the pressure to score a ton of points. Indy has that. You have to have a great offensive line, so you’re not running for your life. Indy has that. Really good running game that you can [rely on]. Indy has that.”
Orlovsky then challenged Reich to design the right plays for Eason, who is known for having a strong arm.
“If you can design plays to get the first person open a lot, that guy’s gonna play well because he’s talented enough to just drop back five or seven steps and let it rip to the guy that ‘you told me is gonna get open,’” he said. “So, the pressure falls on Frank Reich to be good enough in that regard. Because Jacob Eason is talented enough to go make throws to the No. 1 receiver, open-wise, a ton.”
Carson Wentz has seen a quarterback play well in his absence before
No one 100% thinks Eason is going to go out there and take Wentz’s job. He struggles with throwing the ball the same way on all his passes, as the QB not only throws it hard on 50-yard fly routes but also on five-yard slants. He’s still talented enough to have success, though, which Wentz has certainly seen happen to himself in the past.
While having a Pro Bowl season for the Eagles in 2017, Wentz went down with an injury during Week 14 and missed the playoffs. In his absence, Nick Foles led the Eagles to a win in the Super Bowl. Foles’ performance then ignited a quarterback controversy the following season, but Wentz ultimately kept his job.
So, could something similar happen with Eason?
It’s hard to imagine the second-year player creating a controversy, but you never know since Eason has talented pieces around him. The Colts have one of the best rosters in football; they just need a QB.
Maybe, Eason can prove he is that QB, or, at least, just play well enough for them to win in Wentz’s absence. Wentz, on the other hand, better just hope this isn’t a case of deja vu.
Stats courtesy of Sports Reference