Could Sam Ehlinger be the Colts Week 1 starting quarterback?

If Carson Wentz indeed misses regular season games. could the Colts turn to rookie Sam Ehlinger?

The Indianapolis Colts’ aspirations for the 2021 season took a serious hit when Carson Wentz suffered a foot injury during an early camp practice. A 5-12 week recovery timetable after surgery means he could be ready for Week 1, but it’s not necessarily likely. However, the Colts don’t seem to feel pressured to make a move to trade for someone who has experience.

Behind Wentz is 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason, who of course didn’t so much as play a preseason game as a rookie due to the pandemic. The Colts used a sixth-round pick in April on quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Could the Colts turn to Sam Ehlinger as their fill-in for Wentz?

Ehlinger made 43 starts in college at Texas. He ended his career as one of the winningest and statistically accomplished quarterbacks in school and Big 12 history. He was one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft class.

Colts head coach Frank Reich previously said Eason was in the driver’s seat to start in Wentz’s place for however long he may be out. But his comments Monday were interesting (via NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal).

2) Colts coach Frank Reich said it was a “fair question” to ask whether sixth-round rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger is worthy of a bigger role after outplaying nominal starter Jacob Eason in practice over the last week, in the wake of Carson Wentz‘s foot surgery.

Then, on Tuesday morning….

A chunk of first-team practice reps on a single day is interesting, even if it’s not necessarily meaningful outside of that vacuum. But Ehlinger has apparently looked better than Eason in practice over the last week, so he has earned a look with the starters. It was given to him on Tuesday, and it’s worth watching to see if it continues heading into the Colts’ preseason opener.

Everything is dependent on Wentz’s health. If he is good to go for Week 1, the current battle between Eason and Ehlinger will be rendered moot beyond possibly determining who the No. 2 quarterback will be. But Ehlinger is now in the conversation to start any regular season games Wentz might miss, with more opportunity surely in front of him as preseason games get going.