Could it be that the starting quarterback in place of an injured Carson Wentz is actually rookie Sam Ehlinger and not second-year pro Jacob Eason?
Not right now, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said, though the former Texas Longhorns legend is turning heads and garnering a ton of attention in training camp to date, thanks to his grasp of the playbook and how smart he is from a football IQ standpoint.
Speaking to reporters Saturday following another padded practice in Westfield, Reich lavished praise on the rookie Ehlinger, who had a great day of practice according to our own Jake Arthur, pushing Eason every step of the way.
“Sam (Ehlinger) really has been impressive, a very good grasp of the offense very quickly with limited offseason work," Reich said. "He’s really come in and worked hard, done extra work. Scott Milanovich and Parks Frazier have done a great job kind of getting him up to speed, but credit goes to Sam. He’s come in and handled himself well and you guys have met Sam, so you know he’s kind of got something about him. It’s not too big for him. You can feel that and he’s handling himself well.”
Dating back to when he was drafted out of Texas, the thought process around Ehlinger was that he was a football savvy quarterback who understood the game well, yet was hampered a bit by his lack of arm strength.
So far, that's all lined up to be exactly what's happening with Ehlinger. Despite the great start to his first training camp in Westfield, Reich put the kibosh on any speculation that Ehlinger could take first-team reps away from Eason with Wentz on the sidelines.
“No, fair question because he’s looked good," Reich said. "Right now, our plan has just been put Jacob (Eason) in the driver’s seat and Sam’s (Ehlinger) getting a lot of reps and so, they’ll keep competing. It’s a competition, but right now we’re comfortable with the plan that we have and have Jacob in the driver’s seat right now knowing that Sam is getting plenty of reps and we’re taking notes on how he looks and he looks good, but Jacob is making good progress as well.”
Though he's looks solid in training camp, the first real test for Ehlinger will come against the Carolina Panthers on August 15 at Lucas Oil Stadium in the Colts' preseason opener. Should the former Texas standout turn heads in that game, then the talks of an open competition should really heat up.
Have thoughts on Sam Ehlinger's performance in training camp to date? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!