Colts second-year quarterback Jacob Eason felt like he made progress during OTAs last month.
And Marcus Brady, the Colts' offensive coordinator and Eason's quarterbacks coach in 2020, felt the same thing.
"I was very pleased with what I saw over the last few weeks with Jacob, where he's at," Brady said. "Physically, you always knew that he could do it, that he had the potential that he was going to improve in those areas because of his arm talent of what he could provide out there. But mentally you can tell that he took that next step, that he'd grown in that area whether it's making checks at the line, recognizing coverages, recognizing pressure, he did a great job with that.
"Just the conversations that we were able to have that we weren't maybe able to have last year because of the quarterback room, (it) really wasn't for him to speak up as much. Whereas this year he's more involved, you can tell he took control of the unit when he was out there and I thought he did a great job while he was here."
Eason and Brady spent time after practice in 2020 working to make the best of a challenging situation for the rookie, who was behind starter Philip Rivers and backup Jacoby Brissett. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of all preseason games in 2020, and a truncated training camp coupled with assimilating a new starting quarterback meant there was little on-field practice time available to Eason.
So OTAs in 2021 represented a significant opportunity for Eason to showcase his talents, and what he learned behind the scenes last year, on the field.
"You could tell he was definitely into it," Brady said. "He was excited about the reps, the opportunities that he was getting he was locked in. Any mistakes he was trying to correct. You could tell he just wanted to get better.
"He was just excited about getting all these reps, having to make all the decisions both pre-snap, post-snap decisions, watch the film and go the next day to make those corrections. You could tell he was enjoying that part of it."
Eason will compete with rookie Sam Ehlinger and second-year undrafted free agent Jalen Morton to back up Carson Wentz this season. Training camp practices will be another important piece of the puzzle for Eason, and preseason games against the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions (the dates and times of which were announced Wednesday) will carry even more importance as the Colts figure out if he'll be their backup this season.
"We're definitely excited. We want to see what he can do now," Brady said. "Yes, we're seeing the growth from last year to this year but — we as coaches, so we can grow that trust with him — we want to see that in live action. Looking forward to those opportunities. He's still got time to prepare and get ready this offseason training and then into training camp. But when he does get that live action in preseason games, those are going to be huge reps for him."