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Colts Face Quarterback Competition In Week 17

Intro: After years of quarterback continuity unlike any other around the NFL, the Colts have had seven quarterbacks on their active roster this season and face a quarterback competition in the season finale.


INDIANAPOLIS – The signs of Training Camp were everywhere on the last Wednesday of the regular season for the Colts.

Extra chairs were being ushered into the quarterbacks' meeting room to accompany the growing number at the position.

A handful of red jerseys were present at practice.

The first practice of Week 17 for the Colts wasn't all about beating the Tennessee Titans.

No, the team is currently in the midst of a full-fledged quarterback competition with their playoff hopes dangling in the middle of I-465-like traffic.

With the Colts postseason fate all but decided, their final exam this weekend is filled with cramming, and an abundance of unknowns.

"I feel bad for the intern who's driving me around," new quarterback Josh Freeman said with a laugh on Wednesday.

"He's like, 'Hey, you ready to go?' 'Ahh, no, maybe a couple more hours (of studying)."

That was Freeman in the late hours of Tuesday night, trying to consume as much of a Colts playbook and game plan he could in about 24 hours.

If it is Freeman or Ryan Lindley (signed on Tuesday) come Sunday afternoon for the Colts, it will be a watered down version of the playbook, compared to if Andrew Luck was under center.

Injuries have whittled down the Colts quarterback options to two guys who will enter Sunday having been Colts for less than a week.

Players are signed every week on a Monday or Tuesday and serve some role in that weekend's game.

Those roles don't entail being the team's quarterback.

It will on Sunday for the Colts.

The Colts search to find Freeman and Lindley began sometime late on Sunday/early Monday.

With Matt Hasselbeck's shoulder injury likely ending his 2015 season, Luck yet to be cleared and Charlie Whitehurst going on injured reserve, the Colts needed help. ASAP.

The Colts scouting department scoured the list of free agent quarterbacks.

Tape was watched, agents were contacted, some roster mechanics were sifted through and physicals were taken. Out came Freeman and Lindley.

Freeman (6-6 and 248 pounds) has the jump-start. He arrived to Indianapolis on Monday (from Kansas City) and brings the most NFL experience with 60 career starts after being selected in the first-round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

The most recent game action for Freeman came with the Brooklyn Bolts of the Fall Experimental Football League. Bolts games were played in minor league baseball parks, in front of crowds barely reaching a 1,000.

"It was an experience. I'll leave it at that," Freeman, who's last NFL pass came in 2013, said with a smile on Tuesday.

The last NFL toss for Lindley came in the 2015 postseason.

Injuries forced Lindley into emergency duty for the Arizona Cardinals. Lindley had previously started six games in three seasons out west.

While Lindley's endocrine into the Colts system didn't come until Tuesday evening (he arrived in Indianapolis after spending the holidays in New York), he feels some comfort.

"Something that's kind of similar to what I've done in the past," Lindley says of the Colts current system.

"It's an easy transition. I've been other places where it's not as easy and it would probably take a lot longer but this should be pretty smooth. It's just a matter of us kind of repping it out and getting a muscle memory for it."

The repping began on Wednesday. A starter might not be decided upon until hours before Sunday's kickoff.

Come Sunday, seven quarterbacks will have donned a Colts jersey in a game this season.

For a franchise that has been blessed with quarterback continuity unlike any other, for the past decade and a half, they are now at the opposite end of that spectrum in 2015.

"We wouldn't want it any different," a smiling Pagano said on Wednesday.

"I love it. I love it. It's so perfect. It's a perfect storm. I just can't to wait to see what last chapter holds when it's written 4:30 on Sunday. It'll be awesome."

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