INDIANAPOLIS — With all of the cramming finally over with for a while, Jacoby Brissett spent the first week of his offseason doing … well, nothing.
It was a well-deserved break from the havoc, both mentally and physically, Brissett experienced starting Sept. 2, when he was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots just prior to the start of the regular season.
And, just a couple weeks later, Brissett found himself as the Colts' starting quarterback — a role that didn't change the rest of the season. From there, he constantly found himself trying to play catch-up to learn the team's playbook, as well as trying to build a rapport and timing with the teammates around him.
So when all of that came to a sudden halt after the Colts' 22-13, season-ending victory over the Houston Texans on Dec. 31, Brissett decided to lay low for a while.
"You know, my first week I just stayed in my room in my apartment up here and didn't do anything and just thought about the season, thought about a lot of stuff that happened in the last year of my life," he told Colts.com's Caroline Cann. "And, you know, it's just been an interesting year."
"Interesting year" might be an understatement.
He began 2017 as the third-string quarterback for the New England Patriots, firmly entrenched into that role behind Tom Brady and backup Jimmy Garoppolo.
After getting the chance to start two games his rookie season due to Brady's suspension and an injury to Garoppolo, however, Brissett showed the rest of the league he was more than capable of running an NFL offense.
So by the time training camp wrapped up — Brissett threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns in New England's 2017 preseason finale — Colts general manager Chris Ballard decided to make a big move to acquire Brissett just before the start of the regular season. Indianapolis, at that time, was still hopeful starter Andrew Luck, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, would be able to return at some point in 2017, but Ballard wanted competition at the backup spot with veteran Scott Tolzien.
The Colts sent wide receiver and Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots for Brissett. And a couple weeks later, after Tolzien struggled in Indy's season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the team decided to make a switch at the quarterback position.
And although Luck attempted to return to practice in early-October, he would eventually be shut down for the rest of the season after experiencing some inflammation in his throwing shoulder, meaning the starting quarterback job the rest of the season belonged to Brissett.
In 16 games played with 15 starts, Brissett would complete 276-of-469 passes for 3,098 yards with 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions, while also running the ball 63 times for 260 yards and another four scores on the ground.
Not bad for a guy learning the offense on the fly.
With the team's offseason workout program expected to begin in about a month, Brissett also has plenty of learning points from the 2017 season to work on heading into 2018: taking fewer sacks, working on timing with receivers and trying to stay more consistent in the second half of games — all items that were difficult to really hone in on in the middle of his first season with the Colts.
"Honestly, during the season I couldn't even think of anything else besides what I was doing," Brissett said. "And you look back and you're like, it's just so crazy, you know? And you're so thankful for the experience, and then just to put it on paper and to actually think about it without going out the next week and playing again, I learned a lot about myself."
Brissett also heads into the 2018 offseason an important piece to new head coach Frank Reich's offense. While the team is confident Luck will be able to return this season, Reich knows just how critical it is to have a backup quarterback who can be ready to go at a moment's notice.
As offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles last year, Reich saw their starting quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz go down with a season-ending knee injury late in the season, but backup Nick Foles, who struggled early, would eventually settle down and lead the franchise to its first-ever Super Bowl title.
Reich said there's no reason why Brissett, if needed, couldn't do the same for the Colts.
"I really, really like him a lot," Reich said of Brissett. "Evaluated him coming out (of college); I had very high marks on him. I saw a lot of film this year, from just crossover film, from seeing watching the Colts play. I thought he played a lot of winning football. I know he's very smart, I know he's got very good quarterback mechanics, I know he's got very good playmaking ability. So I'm very encouraged and thankful he's on the roster."