Good news: The Indianapolis Colts won all three preseason games.
Bad news: The preseason doesn’t offer much foresight on how a team will perform during the regular season.
Ask the 2008 Detroit Lions and the 2017 Cleveland Browns, who both went 0-16.
Worse news: The Colts can’t get a break with Carson Wentz.
The franchise hoped that the former Philadelphia Eagle would take the place that Philip Rivers vacated after retirement.
But a foot injury sidelined him earlier this month.
The prognosis was that he could be out of action from five to 12 weeks, depending on his recovery after surgery.
He did offer some glimmer of hope when he returned quicker than expected and participated in seven-on-seven drills.
There’s no definitive timeline regarding the quarterback’s return to practice.
However, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated shared that it can be a short as five days, granted that he remains asymptomatic and tests negative for the virus.
Colts QB Carson Wentz will be eligible to return to the team on Thursday, I'm told. That's so long as he remains asymptomatic and continues to test negative.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 30, 2021
Getting clearance after five days gives him enough time for practice before their season opener against the Seattle Seahawks on September 12.
As always, there’s a chance that he will stay on that list longer than he wants.
If that plays out, the Colts’ backup quarterbacks will have a chance to shine during the games that matter.
This scenario will give head coach Frank Reich another headache because Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger had strong preseason performances.
Therefore, it’s highly possible that naming a starter won’t happen until a day or two before the game.
Who Will It Be Between The Double E’s?
Eason transferred from Georgia to the University of Washington after losing the starting quarterback role to Jake Fromm.
During his only year with the Huskies, he threw for 3,132 yards and 23 touchdowns.
He skipped his senior year to join the 2020 NFL Draft, wherein Indianapolis selected him in the fourth round.
For those wondering, Jacob Eason is fully vaccinated. He'll run the first-team offense with Carson Wentz out.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 30, 2021
Eason had a strong preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, which he finished with 15 passes for 183 yards.
In their second preseason game, he completed 16 passes for 132 yards versus the Minnesota Vikings.
Finally, he made 10 passes for 74 yards in their final preseason game opposite the Detroit Lions.
Meanwhile, Austin-native Ehlinger played four seasons with the Texas Longhorns.
He finished his college career with 11,436 yards and 94 touchdowns.
The Colts selected him in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft and pushed Eason for that backup role.
Ehlinger made 10 passes for 155 yards against Carolina and eight passes for 70 yards in the Vikings game.
He ended the preseason with 10 passes for 74 yards in Detroit, which includes this magnificent play.
— NFL (@NFL) August 28, 2021
Both Eason and Ehlinger can stake a claim on the starter’s role should Wentz miss Week 1.
However, Ehlinger’s knee sprain will take five to six weeks to recover.
Sam Ehlinger suffered a knee sprain and will recover without any medical procedures in about 5-6 weeks, per source. So if Carson Wentz isn’t ready by week 1, it’ll be Jacob Eason instead of Ehlinger.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 28, 2021
Surgery isn’t required on his injury, but the Colts won’t take a gamble.
Therefore, Eason will take the field in Week 1 if Wentz is still unavailable.
If their offensive line stands its ground, Eason will have a chance to display his full arsenal.