One of the most important aspects of a successful team in the NFL is stability at the quarterback position.
For the Indianapolis Colts, they have not been very fortunate in that category.
The 2021 Colts were supposed to be led at quarterback by Carson Wentz, whom the Colts traded for back in February with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, after two training camp practices, Wentz injured his foot during a rollout and will now be sidelined 5-12 weeks after having surgery to remove a bone from that foot.
Tight end Mo Alie-Cox has been through this more times than he would like to admit since being a member of the Colts.
“When I saw Carson got hurt I said, ‘Dang, this is my fifth year here, five different quarterbacks.’ Well, six if you want to count Jacob (Eason). Next man up and just see what’s going to happen.”
With Wentz sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Colts will now turn to second-year quarterback Jacob Eason. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft, Eason did not see any game action last year and was buried on the depth chart behind Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett. Eason’s first action against a starting NFL defense has come in his past three practices.
Eason’s job is not an easy one, and there can be a lot of pressure as fans and media alike are watching and judging his every throw. That is where his teammates can step up and help make Eason as comfortable as possible.
“That’s why it’s a team game. All of us just help and piggy-back off each other.,” Alie-Cox said when asked how the team can help Eason. “Like I said, make him feel as comfortable (as possible). Go out there and if he doesn’t see something, help him out. He hasn’t had much experience, no preseason last year and then Jacoby was here so he didn’t get a lot of practice reps. This is like his first time so just have to see how he does.”
For Alie-Cox and the rest of the weapons on the Colts’ offense, they are now tasked with forming chemistry with Eason and getting their timing down as the offense takes their first live reps together. Getting in as many reps as possible throughout camp will be a huge focus.
“That’s why we’re in camp – you’ve just got to come out here every day, have faith in him and make sure he knows we trust him and have faith in him,” Alie-Cox said. “Make him feel as comfortable as possible and get as many reps as possible. Some of us were down in Houston, so some of us are familiar with Jacob (Eason). Some of the other guys who weren’t there – just get them up to speed and get them as many reps as possible.”
Eason and Alie-Cox were both a part of the group of Colts players who got together for offseason workouts in Texas this summer. The work that took place in Houston certainly helps give them a base to build upon.
While the Colts and head coach Frank Reich are confident about Eason and his ability, the unknown of if he can produce and lead the offense still exists. Alie-Cox has been a favorite target of Eason’s early in camp, and the tight end has certainly noticed some things Eason brings to the table.
“His throw power – that ball gets there,” he said. “Just got to make the catch. He’s powerful, but he also has some good touch on it too. He’s tall so you actually see him. When that ball comes out you can get a good read on it.”
Eason still has much to prove throughout training camp. He will need to show continued improvement as he gets more reps with the starting offense, particularly in his accuracy and pocket presence. Seeing what he can do in the preseason games will be a major test for Eason as well.
But if one thing is certain, it’s that his Colts teammates have his back and will do the best they can to help the young quarterback succeed until Wentz can return from injury.
Have thoughts on Mo Alie-Cox and his work with Jacob Eason and the other young QBs on the Colts' roster? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!
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