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Leonard backs Brissett as QB with rumors swirling

The NFL rumor mill has all but shipped quarterback Philip Rivers to the Indianapolis Colts before free agency has even started.

No so fast, says Indy linebacker Darius Leonard.

Appearing on the Rapsheet + Friends podcast, Leonard said he hasn't even considered Rivers joining the Colts, and believes incumbent Jacoby Brissett played better than most believe given the circumstances of last season

"No. I mean, why would I do something like that? No," he told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport of considering Rivers. "I believe in Jacoby. And Jacoby is a pretty good quarterback and showed that early in the season when he had everyone healthy. You can look at any quarterback, and if your receivers go down, of course, your numbers are going to go down. But when he had everybody, he went 5-2. You can look at any other quarterback. I take Tom Brady, for instance, this year he didn't have [Rob Gronkowski], he didn't have the big-time receivers this year, so his numbers went down. So, a lot of people don't give [Brissett] enough credit to what type of quarterback he really is, they just see the numbers he put up at the end of the season, but they don't see the numbers he did with the receivers he did (have). I don't feel like the NFL, and people outside the NFL, give him enough respect."

The Colts have declined all comments on potentially replacing Brissett.

Indianapolis dealt with a litany of skill-position injuries last season, including T.Y. Hilton missing six games, Eric Ebron missing five and running back Marlon Mack sitting out two. Brissett himself battled a knee injury.

The QB generated a passer rating of 98.5 during the first seven games. After the injury to himself and others, that rating dipped to 74.4 over the final seven games, with just one tilt over the 80.0 mark.

Leonard believes the quarterback's early season play was more indicative of the quarterback he can be than the one that finished out the season.

"There is no question," the LB said. "I've been in Indy for two years, and Jacoby being a backup, I faced him day in and day out. So, I know exactly what type of quarterback he is, exactly what type of leader he is, and it showed early in the season. Everybody knows Andrew Luck retiring, what, a week before the first game. And Jacoby came out, and he did everything he could do to help his team win."

The question for the Colts is whether they believe Rivers, or any other signal-caller, could be an upgrade upon Brissett. If they stand pat, at least Indy knows the 27-year-old has support from leaders within the locker room.

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