The Indianapolis Colts are making a change, once again, at the quarterback position. Matt Ryan, who was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason to bring some stability to the offense, suffered a shoulder sprain and will no longer be the team’s starter.
Even had the injury not occurred, the Colts were going to be making a change under center. The plan was always to turn the offense over to Sam Ehlinger, a sixth-round pick out of Texas from the 2021 NFL Draft.
Indianapolis dropped to 3-3-1 on the season after their Week 7 loss to the Tennessee Titans, as they are looking for a spark on their offense. Ryan was expected to be an upgrade over Carson Wentz, but in some facets, it could be argued that he has been a downgrade. Ryan already has nine interceptions this season, compared to seven for Wentz last season, and was on track to shatter the record for fumbles in a season.
Ehlinger should bring a spark to the team as he has some dual-threat ability. During his tenure with the Longhorns, Ehlinger completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 11,436 yards and 94 touchdowns, to go along with 27 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,903 yards and 33 more scores. Nine receptions were even made during his career at Texas.
This preseason, he was a star, which could be part of the reason that the Colts are comfortable making this switch now. It is tough to take much away from exhibition games, but when you perform as well as Ehlinger did, there has to be something there that can translate.
According to Doug Kyed, Ehlinger had a PFF grade of 90.6 during the preseason. He went 24-of-29 on his pass attempts for 289 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Ehlinger didn’t even commit a turnover-worthy play during his time on the field and made one big-time throw.
“I’ve been particularly impressed with Sam in practice since the season started, the look that he’s given on the scout team, the quality of his throws, the way he’s commanding himself out there,” head coach Frank Reich told reporters Monday. “Just the total package. I just think it’s the best decision for our team moving forward.”
There is certainly going to be some pressure on the second-year signal caller as many people thought the Colts were dark horse Super Bowl contenders coming into the season. They are only a half-game behind the Titans for first place in the AFC South but have already been swept in the season series by them, so they are behind in tiebreakers as well.
Ehlinger’s first career start will be coming at home against the Washington Commanders. It is quite a turn of events as both teams will be starting backups as Wentz is also sidelined for the Commanders for a few weeks with an injury.