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How the Colts can get back to the postseason in 2020

dAug 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; From left to right Indianapolis Colts defensive end Justin Houston (99) and offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) walk onto the field during player introductions before the game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason expectations were high for the 2019 Indianapolis Colts. They were coming off a season in which they advanced to the Divisional Round as a Wild Card team. Andrew Luck was coming off his second consecutive season grading at 90.0 or higher — even if those seasons weren’t in consecutive years — and in theory, the Colts were going to provide him with the best offensive environment of his career under Frank Reich.

Then, Luck retired out of nowhere, and everything changed. Despite early season success, Jacoby Brissett was not able to seamlessly fill the hole that Luck’s retirement left, and the Colts limped their way to a 7-9 record and third-place finish in the AFC South in a year where they were supposed to seriously contend for an AFC Championship.

Now, Indianapolis must regroup and evaluate its roster, with several important decisions to make this offseason. The silver lining for the Colts is that they are one of the teams with the most projected cap space in the NFL, and they have an early second-round pick from the Washington Redskins in addition to their own picks. The resources are there for the Colts to claim a spot atop the AFC South. This is how they can do it.

Step 1: Sign a veteran quarterback to a short-term deal to replace Brissett as starter

The Colts jumped out to a 5-2 start this season, and the stats would tell you that Brissett was playing well over that stretch. He completed 149 of 230 passes for 1,590 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions, good for a passer rating of 99.7 that sat among the top-10 quarterbacks in the NFL. Brissett’s PFF passing grade of 59.8 (26th among 32 qualifying quarterbacks) over those first seven games told a different story, though. Over the second half of the season, the results started to trend toward the grades.

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