The Indianapolis Colts‘ first preseason game was a success if you look at it through the lens of the quarterback position.
Both Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger got their first career professional action as the team looks for a competent Week 1 starter with Carson Wentz likely on the shelf with his foot injury.
Eason started the contest against the Panthers and was an impressive 15-of-21 for 185 yards. Then came Ehlinger, who led the game-winning drive and finished 10-of-15 for 155 yards (with an interception) as well as eight rushes for 30 yards. But all that mattered was the 21-18 result.
Even more encouraging on Ehlinger’s end? His poise with the media. We’d love if you could find other rookies this eloquent under pressure when asked a tough question.
Could Colts QB Sam Ehlinger’s poise with the media translate onto the field?
A true veteran in front of the mic. And remember, this was a guy who slid in the draft (all the way to the sixth round) due to concerns about his arm strength. He also lost his younger brother in tragic fashion this offseason. It’s been far from an easy road for the former Texas Longhorn.
But it’s clear he has a unique perspective driven by his down-to-earth personality. What other football players are talking about their “purpose on earth”? Surely not many. That’s not to say Ehlinger’s thought process is superior to other players’, it’s just that you don’t typically hear such viewpoints, especially from young players. It’s typically “football first.”
The moral of the story here? Ehlinger could be starting Week 1 if he continues to battle toe-to-toe with Eason. And even if he’s not, he’s next on the totem pole until Wentz returns. And even when Wentz returns, Ehlinger still isn’t far away from the field given how injury-prone the former No. 2 overall pick is.
Shouldn’t Ehlinger’s demeanor and state of mind make fans feel comfortable if he’s taking meaningful snaps? Couple that with the little action we’ve already seen from him, and it’s hard to disagree.
He’s a true dual-threat quarterback who’s already proven he can be collected in the pocket at the next level. Sure, these were second-, third- and fourth-stringers, but it’s still the highest level of football. What would everyone be saying if he looked terrible?
Instead, he was dropping dimes.
Ehlinger certainly has a long way to go, but given his skill set and, most importantly, his zen-like personality, Colts fans shouldn’t at all be discouraged if he had to take over as QB1 against the Seattle Seahawks in just a few weeks.