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Sam Ehlinger Struggles In First NFL Preseason Start for Colts

The former Longhorns quarterback played most of the first half on Saturday as the Colts faced the Minnesota Vikings

Sam Ehlinger’s quest to be the Week 1 starter for the Indianapolis Colts continued on Saturday, as the rookie started the Colts’ second preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Ehlinger’s start was planned. After playing the entire second half against Carolina last Sunday and leading the Colts to a come-from-behind win in the fourth quarter, head coach Frank Reich announced early in the week that the former Longhorns quarterback would flip into the starting spot against the Vikings.

The reason? The Colts are trying to determine if either Ehlinger or Jacob Eason are good enough to start if Carson Wentz is unavailable to play in the season opener. 

During training camp, Wentz suffered a foot injury and may not be ready to play on Sept. 4 when the Colts are slated to play Seattle.

Theoretically, the winner of the competition between Ehlinger and Eason would serve as Wentz’s primary backup once the former Eagles quarterback returns to the starting lineup.

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Ehlinger, a sixth-round pick in April, ended up going 8-for-13 for 70 yards and two interceptions. Against Carolina last Sunday, Ehlinger threw for 155 yards on 10-of-15 passing, along with eight rushes for 30 yards

Eason entered the game with about five minutes left in the second quarter, the drive after Ehlinger threw his second interception with the Colts down, 7-6.

Wentz is, according to head coach Frank Reich “getting very, very antsy” to get back on the field after his foot injury. Reich is hoping he’ll know who the starter will be for the regular-season opener by the final preseason game next weekend. So, either Wentz can play, or one of his two backups will take the snaps in Week 1.

Things are also getting dicey off the field, as Wentz was called ‘selfish’ by Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel for Wentz’s reluctance to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Doyel went so far as to write that the Colts would be better served if Eason got the job.

The Colts have one preseason game remaining — Aug. 27 at Detroit.

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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.