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16-01-2020 08:26 AM
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WESTIELD , Ind. — Jacoby Brissett enjoys playing the role of entertainer at training camp.The Indianapolis Colts quarterback routinely celebrates big plays, moves and grooves to the songs blasting through loudspeakers and even periodically tosses in a barrel roll after diving to the ground to simulate a block against the air. It’s who he is.But when it’s time to work, Brissett is all business.“I’ve seen it in OTAs,” All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard said Wednesday. “Usually, if a vet messes up anybody would just walk by, but Jacoby won’t let a mistake walk by. So you see a leader on the field and off the field, the way he carries himself, you just see he’s a great guy on the field and off the field.”The Colts need Brissett to play the tough-guy role right now as Andrew Luck continues to sit out with a strained left calf.Coach Frank Reich announced Tuesday the injury Luck suffered in the spring would keep his starting quarterback out of action until at least Saturday. Reich also has ruled out Luck for next Thursday’s preseason opener at Buffalo and indicated that in a best-case scenario Luck would see only a little playing time anyway in the second and third preseason games.So Brissett probably will take the bulk of the snaps in August, and the timing couldn’t be better.The exuberant 26-year-old enters the final year of his contract having spent more time than Luck with the starting offense.For the first time in three years, he is not scrambling to learn a new offense. He has developed timing with new receivers Devin Funchess, a free agent signee, and third-round draft pick Parris Campbell. And he has found a personality fit with playful teammates such as Funchess and Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron.All of that has made a difference.“He’s done a great job of diving into the playbook,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said. “Year 2 of the system, everybody has a firmer grasp of it and nothing’s new to anybody and you can really see that in Jacoby with the way the plays come out of his mouth, the way that his eyes read the play and the speed that he gets the ball out with.”Most NFL fans haven’t seen much of Brissett since Luck missed the entire 2017 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.Brissett came to Indy that season in a cutdown weekend trade from New England. Less than two weeks later, Brissett Joe Haeg Jersey , barely knowing the offense, was forced into relief duty in the Colts’ season opener. He wound up starting the final 15 games and throwing for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions despite enduring a league-high 52 sacks.When Luck returned last season, Brissett went back to the supporting cast. He threw only four passes in four games, including a desperation heave from near midfield in the waning seconds of a Week 3 loss at Philadelphia. And with Brissett out of the spotlight, his value around the league took a hit.Now, with Luck out again, Brissett has another opportunity to showcase his talent on the NFL stage.Brissett prefers to look at the big picture.“You’ve got to make strides, obviously, second year in the system, and that’s what I hope to do throughout this system,” he said. “You’ll never see the finished product right now. Everybody understands that.”And after Brissett spent much of last season posing with the defense after turnovers, those in the Colts’ locker room have no doubts Brissett can get the job done with or without Luck.“I think any time a guy gets a lot of reps, that’s huge for us as a team,” Sirianni said. “Obviously John Simon Color Rush Jersey , yeah, we want Andrew out there. But when a guy is getting significant reps, getting the timing down with the receivers, the snap count, the cadence and the calls down with the center and the offensive line — I mean, that’s invaluable. What I think he has really done is gain the trust of everybody in the offensive huddle.”52 Gallery:Greetings from Westfield: Colts training camp 2019AP | Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Saturday’s wild-card game between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts is a matchup that seemed improbable early this season after Houston dropped its first three games and the Colts limped to a 1-5 start.Instead of letting their tough starts lead to disappointing years, these teams which both finished 4-12 last season turned things around to lead the AFC South and charge into the postseason.Houston’s rebound began at the expense of the Colts (10-6) and it was thanks in part to a controversial call by Indianapolis coach Frank Reich in overtime. The game was tied 34-34 when, instead of punting on fourth-and-4 from his 43-yard line and likely settling for a tie, Reich called for a short pass from Andrew Luck to Chester Rogers. Luck’s pass fell incomplete, Houston got a 24-yard completion on the next play, and Ka’imi Fairbairn made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the Texans (11-5) a 37-34 victory.“We knew that to be able to come out on the winning end of that game was a big thing for us, but that’s a long time ago,” Houston coach Bill O’Brien said. “The teams have evolved over time, so it’s a new ballgame now.”The win was the first of nine straight for Houston. The Texans didn’t lose again until a visit from the Colts on Dec. 9, a 24-21 Indy victory. Houston then won two of its last three games, capped by a 20-3 victory over the Jaguars on Sunday to clinch the division — and become the sixth team since 1980 and first since 1998 to make the playoffs after a 0-3 start.The Colts’ loss to Houston in Week 4 was the second of four straight that dropped them to 1-5. Indianapolis then won its next five and nine of its last 10 to make its first playoff appearance since a 2014 AFC championship game loss at New England. Yes , the “Deflategate” game.The Colts are the third team in NFL history to reach the postseason after losing five of the first six games.These teams have more in common than their difficult starts. They’re both led by a player making a comeback after an injury.Luck returned after missing the 2017 season with a shoulder injury to throw for 4,593 yards and rank second in the NFL with 39 touchdown passes. His best games this season have come against Houston, piling up 863 yards passing with six touchdowns.Trying to slow him down on Saturday will be Houston’s comeback star J.J. Watt, who played all 16 games after starting just eight games combined in the previous two years because of back surgeries and a broken leg. Watt led the AFC with 16 sacks, had 25 quarterback hits, 18 tackles for losses and forced a career-high seven fumbles, which tied for most in the NFL.Watt said Luck has been getting rid of the ball quicker this season, which makes his job as a pass rusher much more difficult.“You try and do different things, but at the end of the day, you try and get there, and if you can get your hands up, you get your hands up,” he said. “You just try and get there. You can’t really let it affect you, and you hope maybe he holds it for an extra second.”Some things to know about Houston’s game against Indianapolis:HILTON’S INSome of T.Y. Hilton‘s most memorable moments have come against the Texans — especially when he visits Houston.The Colts’ top receiver has caught 41 passes for 933 yards with seven TDs in seven games at NRG Stadium, and in the last two trips to Houston Hilton has 14 receptions for 374 yards and two TDs. So even though he’s been hobbled by a bad ankle, which he initially injured at Houston on Dec. 9 Antonio Morrison Jersey , Hilton insists he’ll be fine Sunday.“That’s probably why it’s starting to feel better,” Hilton joked earlier this week when asked about playing in Houston for the second time in a month.DESHAUN’S DEBUTHouston quarterback Deshaun Watson will make his playoff debut in his second year in the NFL. Don’t expect the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft to be daunted by the challenge after he played plenty of huge games at Clemson, highlighted by leading his team to the national title game twice. The Tigers lost to Alabama when Watson was a sophomore before he helped Clemson beat Alabama 35-31 for the 2016 national championship.“It’s just another opportunity for myself and this whole team to be able to show what we’ve got and put in the work,” Watson said. “I’ve played in a lot of big games before in college and stuff, but you can’t really pit college playoffs with the NFL. This is the hardest business, top-notch. It’s a whole new season, a whole new speed of game. So it’s going to be new for me (and) it’s going to be a lot of fun.”TURNAROUND TIMEIndy didn’t just rebound from a 1-5 start to make the playoffs. It rewrote the book.While the oft-criticized offensive line allowed a league-low 18 sacks after giving up a league-high 56 in 2017, the biggest change came on defense, where the Colts were ranked No. 11. They had the league’s leading tackler, 26 takeaways, allowed only 16.4 points over the final eight games, and were one of three teams that didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher all season.The Colts know it will take more of the same to advance.“The last time we did a good job, that was great for us, but this is a new challenge this week,” Reich said when asked about defending Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins. “I’m sure they are going to try to get him going.”
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