Sam Ehlinger didn't play in the Colts' Week 6 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, his first as the team's backup quarterback in 2022. But he was ready, and not just because he was one play away from taking over as the Colts' QB1.
The Colts worked on a package of plays for Ehlinger that could be used in certain specific situations. Those didn't come up, as Matt Ryan powered a 34-27 win over the Jaguars. But now that he's QB2, Ehlinger is prepared for whatever the Colts need him to do on Sundays.
"You're one snap away," Ehlinger said. "So being prepared for the moment, and then also being there for Matt on game day. Seeing the defenses, helping him out, I think it really helps, especially as a starter, to have a battle buddy in the mix with you."
Head coach Frank Reich on Wednesday said the decision to move Ehlinger up to be the backup – with Nick Foles the No. 3 quarterback and not dressing on gamedays – was difficult. But the ability to have an "Ehlinger package" in their offense, plus the work the 2021 sixth round pick has put in, led the Colts to promote him. And it had nothing to do with anything Foles had or hadn't done.
"It was hard because it wasn't like 'Hey Nick (Foles), Sam (Ehlinger) beat you out.' It was more a schematic thing," Reich said. "Don't get me wrong, we love Sam. He's earned the right to be in this role but Nick Foles has looked just lights out in practice. Physically, his arm strength and this offense, he's doing a good job in this offense. It's built for him in a lot of ways. Super excited. It was a hard conversation to have but Nick is such a pro. He's such a pro. I think he was a little bit shocked at first but I think he understood why we were doing what we were doing and that it was what was best for the team. No way did it diminish how we feel about him and what he brings to our team."
Ehlinger also praised Foles – a fellow Westlake (Austin, Texas) High School graduate – for how he's handled everything over the last week. But for Ehlinger, earning the Colts' backup job again this season is an important marker in his nascent career.
"All you can ask for in this league is an opportunity," Ehlinger said. "And I think that this is one step closer to an opportunity."
Wednesday's practice report