INDIANAPOLIS — With the month of July upon us, and the start of training camp now within sight, it's time for the Indianapolis Colts' Burning Questions series.
We start today with the quarterback position:
» How quickly will Philip Rivers get back into the swing of things within Frank Reich's offense?
By now it's been mentioned several times how Philip Rivers, who signed with the Colts as a free agent in March after spending the first 16 seasons of his career with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, has plenty of experience working with head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni. From 2013-15, Reich served as Rivers' quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in San Diego, while Sirianni was an offensive quality control coach and then quarterbacks coach on that same staff. In total in Rivers' three seasons under Reich and Sirianni with the Chargers, he ranked, on average, second in the NFL in completion percentage, fifth in passing yards, fifth in touchdown passes, sixth in passer rating, seventh in fewest interceptions and ninth in yards per pass attempt. That familiarity was critical in the Colts' decision to make a change at quarterback heading into 2020, and now it's time to put it all to action when Indy kicks off the regular season Sept. 13 on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
» Could the Colts occasionally utilize a package for backup Jacoby Brissett?
Opposing defenses will already have enough to worry about when trying to prepare for this Colts offense in 2020, with Rivers now at quarterback and all the weapons all around him — from Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines in the run game, to guys like T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, Michael Pittman Jr., Jack Doyle and Trey Burton in the pass game. But Reich this offseason hinted at the possibility of even Brissett occasionally coming off the bench from time to time to keep the defense on its toes even more. "Even though he's not going to be the starter, there is nothing saying he still can't play," Reich said when asked about how he'd approach scheming up RPOs this season. "We think Jacoby has some unique gifts in that way. Everybody knows who Jacoby is, he is not Lamar Jackson as far as speed, but Jacoby is tough to bring down. So there are situations on the field and circumstances that we have a lot of trust in Jacoby. … We are wide open. Nick (Sirianni) and I have already been talking about this – about what does it look like if Jacoby plays five plays a game, seven plays a game? We are certainly talking about that, open to that and we will keep all options open. Whatever we have to do to win."
» How many quarterbacks will the Colts keep on their 53-man roster?
Reich tends to be a traditionalist when it comes to how many quarterbacks he prefers to have on the active roster at any given time, and that number is two: your starter and your backup. But last season, after Brissett suffered a knee injury Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers that forced him to miss the following week's game against the Miami Dolphins, the Colts brought up quarterback Chad Kelly from the practice squad to the active roster, where he would remain the rest of the season. Kelly is back in 2020, and further adding to the equation is the team's selection of Washington quarterback Jacob Eason in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Reich and general manager Chris Ballard said Kelly and Eason will be battling it out for the No. 3 quarterback job throughout training camp and the preseason, but once the regular season gets going, will the team go ahead and keep that No. 3 QB on its active roster, or will that player be utilized on the practice squad, where they could be signed onto another team's active roster at any time?