All things considered, if you had told the Colts they'd be in playoff contention until Week 15 after Andrew Luck's shocking retirement, they probably would have been pretty happy. Far less significant developments have sunk seasons for franchises before. Indianapolis was ultimately unable to succeed in their push for the playoffs after starting 5-2, but they still exceeded expectations for their 2019 season.
A good chunk of that early success was due to the steady, if unspectacular, play of Jacoby Brissett, who was thrown into the spotlight like he never had been before following Luck's announcement. General manager Chris Ballard is apparently less bullish on Brissett's performance, and told media today that "the jury's still out" on the fourth-year QB.
Brissett has never been pegged as franchise quarterback material since he was drafted back in 2016, but looked like he could be an average-to-above-average starter after the team's hot start; he threw for 1,388 yards with 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions in the first seven games of the year. Ballard clearly thought the same and gave Brissett a two-year extension worth up to $30 million with $20 million guaranteed back in September.
But things went downhill after Brissett hurt his knee against Pittsburgh in Week 9. He threw for only four more touchdowns and tossed three interceptions in the last seven games of the season as the Colts went 2-5 during that stretch, thus leading to this comment from Ballard.
An easy solution isn't in the Colts' current deck of cards to replace Brissett, though. Brian Hoyer is a good backup but a below-average starter, and it's hard to imagine anyone has high hopes for Chad Kelly after his numerous off-the-field incidents, much less his actual play. The Colts do pick 13th in this year's draft, and could get lucky should Tua Tagovailoa declare and then fall as a result of his hip injury, but they likely aren't holding their breath. This year's QB class is top-heavy and the chances of Indianapolis stumbling into a better starter than Brissett in the middle rounds seems low. The free agent market has some options, but nobody who is definitely, no-doubt-about it better than Brissett.
Would Brissett have continued on the pace he was on if he hadn't gotten hurt? Probably not. But he also probably wouldn't have been as bad as he was, either. It's fair of Ballard to say the jury is still out, and he wouldn't be doing his job if he wasn't looking at every possible option. For now, though, it's Brissett's job to lose.