The Indianapolis Colts made a calculated bet that adding an aging quarterback in Philip Rivers can catapult them back into the playoffs.
The move to Rivers, who immediately leaps Jacoby Brissett on the depth chart, comes with some skepticism after the 38-year-old tossed 20 interceptions last season. In the past, we’ve seen quarterbacks fall off a cliff as they age.
Colts owner Jim Irsay doesn’t see the same concerns with the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
"I tell ya, I believe Philip is a young 38," Irsay told Andrew Walker of the team’s official website. "We see guys like Drew Brees now, and Tom Brady, playing and doing great things after 40. It won’t even be until 2021 (in) December when Philip gets 40. So I think he is a guy with elite leadership, a great release, and what makes it so good is I feel we have the best offensive line in football, and that’s the thing that takes a long time to build."
Working in the Colts’ favor is that offensive line Irsay mentioned.
Rivers had been battered in recent seasons behind a sieve in Los Angeles. In Indianapolis, he’ll play behind a line that ranks among the best in the league and should have more time to hit his targets. In Indy, he shouldn’t need as many back-foot heaves as we saw with the Chargers last season, which led to a cornucopia of INTs.
The Colts still have questions about the weaponry they’ll surround Rivers with in 2020. Behind T.Y Hilton, there isn’t a proven stalwart in the bunch. Indy could look to the draft, which is deep at the position, to add an upgrade. Getting Parris Campbell, who dealt with injuries as a rookie, to make a Year 2 leap would help immensely.
Irsay and the Colts are betting Rivers’ down season last year was a product of his situation in L.A., not his age. It’s a gamble that could pay off huge for Indy if Irsay is right.
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