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Frank Reich, Jacoby Brissett, Colts

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Colts: 3 key players to watch in preseason finale

Over the weekend, the Indianapolis Colts lost franchise quarterback Andrew Luck to retirement. Although it appears the Colts knew about such a decision weeks ago, this news could not have hit the NFL world harder. It obviously came as a surprise to everyone outside the Indianapolis front office.

With the Colts officially in the post-Luck era with just a few weeks until the start of the 2019 regular season, it is time for this team to step up in a big way if Indianapolis is going to return to the playoffs. Because the Colts were so reliant on Luck and his prowess under center, it is already so hard to imagine life without him in Indianapolis.

Nonetheless, the Colts will be forced to go with what they have; it will surely take an overall team effort to lead this team to a successful campaign in 2019. Even though the team’s offense will not be the same this season, the Colts do have an impressive defense that may be able to help this franchise win a few extra games along the way.

With only one preseason matchup remaining, both sides of the football must come to play to show the world that football remains a team sport.

Jacoby Brissett, QB

Although this is a no-brainer, the absence of Andrew Luck has directly impacted the future of fellow signal caller Jacoby Brissett. With Luck officially out of the picture in Indianapolis, Brissett has already been named the team’s starter under center. The former New England Patriots quarterback previously led the Colts while Luck dealt with lingering injury troubles a few seasons ago.

However, Brissett must improve if the Colts are going to thrive in the highly competitive AFC South division. Even though his first reps as the team’s full-time starting quarterback will come during a preseason outing against the Cincinnati Bengals, Brissett will surely be under a microscope from the start. Whether he plays a few snaps or a few quarters, all eyes will be on the newly-anointed Colts starting quarterback in the team’s preseason finale.

Devin Funchess, WR

With Andrew Luck’s retirement affecting every player on the Indianapolis Colts, the team’s offense is obviously going to be affected the most. With that in mind, the players around new starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett must step up in a big way to enable the AFC South franchise to make some noise in 2019.

One of the players the Colts brought in this offseason, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess, will now encounter a larger role. With fellow Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton guaranteed to endure double-teams left and right, especially with Luck absent from the pocket, Funchess could serve as a heavily targeted option for Brissett, who will need all the help he can get.

After spending his entire NFL career as a member of the Panthers, Funchess has gotten progressively better over the years, though he has yet to truly break out. With only one preseason game left on the docket, Funchess will need to prepare himself for a huge role in his first go-round as a member of the new-look Colts.

Rock Ya-Sin, CB

Although the absence of Andrew Luck will hinder the Indianapolis Colts in a major way, the Colts need to worry about the health of the team’s defense as well. It was previously unveiled that starting cornerback Kenny Moore has suffered a broken thumb, which is definitely not a good sign for head coach Frank Reich’s defense. However, Moore is still expected to be ready for Week 1 against the surging Los Angeles Chargers. Even with this promising news coming down shortly after the news surrounding Moore’s injured thumb, a banged up defensive secondary is not how this team wants to begin what may quickly become a forgettable season.

Because of Moore’s injury, rookie cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, whom the Colts notably selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Temple, will need to raise his game. With the Colts’ offseason coming to a close quickly, Ya-Sin will likely be thrown into the fire sooner rather than later; he must become a viable option — especially if Moore’s thumb injury continues to linger into the regular season.

Even if Moore returns for Week 1, Ya-Sin will need to serve as a legitimate option off the bench if nothing else.