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Colts Camp: Bubble Players Who are Making Things Interesting

These Colts players who are considered to be on the bubble are making things interesting in training camp when it comes to whether or not they'll make the roster. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

The Indianapolis Colts are now more than halfway through their 2021 training camp as they have completed 10 of their 19 practices.

Last week on one of their off days, we brought you a stock report of players who were trending up and down after the first week of practice.

Today, we bring you some of the players who are considered to be on the roster bubble but are making things interesting regarding whether or not they will make the 53-man roster.

Jul 28, 2021; Westfield, IN, United States; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger (4) at Grand Park.

QB Sam Ehlinger

This one seems like a layup because Ehlinger has been one of the top storylines of camp. However, the Colts' quarterback position is such a toss-up right now.

Starter Carson Wentz had foot surgery last week and is set to be reevaluated soon to see where on the spectrum he could return from his recovery timetable of 5-12 weeks. Depending on how that goes, the Colts could elect to continue rolling with Jacob Eason as the first-team quarterback in Wentz's absence, begin giving Ehlinger some first-team reps and making it a true competition, or they could acquire an outside veteran quarterback to compete to be the starter in Wentz's absence.

Regardless of what happens, Ehlinger has been the Colts' best quarterback in camp since Wentz went out with his injury. He scans the field quickly, finds smart opportunities downfield, is mobile, and can throw accurately on the move. The offense flows fluidly through Ehlinger. He lacks ideal arm strength, but that's really the only advantage Eason has over Ehlinger. Still, Ehlinger's individual understanding of his own arm strength has been more consistent than Eason's.

From the mental side of things, the rookie is plenty far along in his development and the coaching staff has taken notice of his grasp of the offense.

“Sam really has been impressive, a very good grasp of the offense very quickly with limited offseason work," Colts head coach Frank Reich recently told reporters. "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.”

May 27, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back De'Michael Harris (12) catches the ball during Indianapolis Colts OTAs.

WR DeMichael Harris

The Colts have a deep group of receivers vying for the final couple of spots on the positional depth chart, but Harris has a leg up in part because he was with them last year for seven games.

The group battling for these spots appears to primarily be between Harris, Mike Strachan, Ashton Dulin, and Dezmon Patmon. If the season started this week, I'd have a hard time giving an answer other than Harris and Strachan as to who has earned those spots.

Dulin is a key special teams player for the Colts but has missed the last five practices with a hamstring injury. Patmon was with the team all of last year as a rookie and was active for a game but has done very little in camp outside of the most recent few practices.

Strachan almost seems like a shoo-in at this point with his blend of size and athleticism, and how he attacks the ball. That leaves Harris, who has continued to show up for the quarterbacks in 11-on-11s and make plays. He's sure-handed, can be used in the run and return games, and has the ability to pick up extra yardage with the ball in his hands. He's good insurance for a guy like Parris Campbell who has struggled to stay healthy.

Indianapolis Colts tight end Farrod Green (41) at Grand Park in Westfield on Monday, August 2, 2021, on the second week of workouts of this summer's Colts training camp. Head Coach Frank Reich reappeared at practice after being away for ten days after a COVID-19 positive test. Colts Get Their Coach Back On Week Two Of Colts Camp

TE Farrod Green

Green stayed on the Colts practice squad throughout 2020 as a rookie undrafted free agent, and he appears to have taken a step forward.

The Colts have been very shorthanded at tight end lately between injuries to Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, and Noah Togiai, plus a couple of rest days for Jack Doyle. Therefore, Green has been shuffled up the order for much of camp and has responded nicely.

With Doyle, Alie-Cox, Granson, and Togiai out for Saturday's practice, Green took on a huge role throughout practice and despite getting banged-up early, toughed it out and was productive all day. Then, rather than sit out practice the next day, he was out there to compete once again.

He's been a favorite of Ehlinger throughout camp, catching a couple of red-zone touchdowns from him in two-minute situations. Green has gotten plenty of work with Eason recently as well.

The Colts carried Togiai as a fourth tight end last year but Green has shown quite a bit in his absence this summer.

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Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Will Holden (69) blocking defensive end Ben Banogu (52) during 2021 training camp.

OT Will Holden

None of the tackles filling in for starting left tackle Eric Fisher are doing particularly well — you can probably tell based on how well we've reported the defensive ends are performing — but Holden seems to get victimized the least, both in 11-on-11s and in 1-on-1 drills.

The Colts have given both Holden and Sam Tevi an opportunity to vie for the spot, which may be a surprise to some.

All offseason since signing Tevi, the Colts have alluded to him being the primary option at left tackle if Fisher (or another hypothetical starter) were to miss time, but Holden has lined up with the first unit for a good portion of the spring and summer and was rarely discussed as an option.

Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Joey Ivie during 2021 training camp.

DT Joey Ivie

Ivie joined the Colts as interior defensive line depth who has bounced around the NFL, collecting eight games of experience.

He's had some nice plays in 11-on-11s as well as some quality 1-on-1 reps. That in itself isn't enough to put him on the roster. However, Taylor Stallworth, who was the Colts' third defensive tackle last year, left the fourth practice with a hamstring injury and has missed the six practices since. He was already potentially going to fall behind newcomer Antwaun Woods on the depth chart.

If Stallworth can't make it back soon or has to begin the season with an injury designation then that could open the door for Ivie.

The Indianapolis Colts' Andre Chachere (36) puts his helmet on during the Indianapolis Colts camp on Friday, July 30, 2021, at Grand Park in Westfield Ind.

DB Andre Chachere

Colts starting free safety Julian Blackmon recently had to bow out of practice with a knee injury, and Chachere has filled in for him in two of the three practices since.

Coming into camp, Chachere was thought to be near or at the bottom of the cornerback depth chart and then suddenly was with the first-team defense at safety.

A similar scenario came together a couple of years ago for defensive back Rolan Milligan.  He was a low-level safety on the depth chart but wound up making the roster and seeing snaps in the regular season in the slot.

The Colts loved Milligan's versatility and playmaking ability in practice, and it's similar to how defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus recently spoke about Chachere.

“Andre, we’re looking at several positions. We really feel good about where Andre is because so far for us he’s played at corner, he can play safety and he can play nickel. So, he’s a versatile athlete and that’s something you look for in the bottom part of your roster. If you’re not the one, two, but if you’re the three, four, or five at a position, you have to have that position flex and that’s what he has. He’s done a good job. I’ll tell you one thing about Andre, last year, he was on the show team and this guy took every rep. I’m talking about 90 reps every single day and he just did it time and time again and didn’t say boo and just kept going with a positive attitude and this guy is having a real good camp for us.”

A hamstring injury forced rookie fifth-round pick Shawn Davis to watch from the sidelines all the way up until Day 10 of practice, so he hasn't been able to show much. Likewise, no other depth safety has stood out to handily grab consideration for a roster spot.

The Colts clearly like what Chachere offers, so don't be surprised if he stays on the roster when the regular season begins.

Which Colts bubble players are surprising you in training camp? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!


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