INDIANAPOLIS —Will the Indianapolis Colts keep three quarterbacks on their Week 1 roster?
Maybe a few weeks ago the answer to that question would've been "No," but thanks to the strong preseason play of Stephen Morris, the question is one the Colts' coaching staff and front office is undoubtedly asking themselves today, when the team travels to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in both teams' preseason finales.
In the first three weeks of the preseason, Morris has completed 19-of-31 passes (61.3 percent) for 314 yards with three touchdowns to no interceptions. He has also been effective when needed out of the pocket, running the ball five times for 46 yards (9.2 yards per carry) and a touchdown.
His latest performance was his best so far. Playing about a quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles last Saturday, he completed 7-of-11 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, while also running for a one-yard touchdown. His quarterback rating? A preseason-best 137.5.
Heading into tonight's preseason finale, Morris assuredly wants to keep his name in the conversation to be picked for the final roster.
"I feel like I'm playing OK," Morris said this week. "There's a lot of things to work on. Coach does a really good job of reminding us the next day. So our biggest focus is just be better than the week we were before, and hopefully we'll just continue to develop at quarterbacks as a group and as a unit."
The final preseason game will be Morris' best opportunity to showcase what he can do. With starter Andrew Luck not likely to play at all, Colts fans could see Morris and No. 2 quarterback Scott Tolzien lead an offense full of younger players trying to make a final good impression before final cuts.
"Really, just trying to run the cleanest operation possible," Tolzien said this week of the goal for tonight's game, should he play. "From getting in and out of the huddle, to the right checks, to getting the ball out of my hand, making the correct reads and really just being a leader out there; lead the 11 guys on the field."
Both Tolzien and Morris have visibly established leadership roles whenever they're on the field. For Morris, he said it's important to relay a consistent message from the coaches in the meeting room or practice field, and take it into game situations.
"Well the first thing is you've got to know what you're talking about," Morris said. "So you have to really make sure you're in the books, really make sure that you're preaching the right things. It's not (just) coming from me, but it's also coming from other guys in my room, as well as the coaches and the coordinators. So we're all just trying to be one voice."
Tolzien has also had some strong performances so far this preseason, completing 30-of-50 (60 percent) of his passes for 302 yards with two touchdowns to one interception. His best performance came Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens, when he completed 13-of-18 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown for a 105.6 quarterback rating.
Tolzien said he's done "some good, some bad, and you're always just trying to improve and limit the mistakes and just get better with each game."
"(The coaches) do a great job of explaining (the plan) and laying that out for us in the week of prep," Tolzien said. "So when we go out there on gameday, we feel confident in it."
Morris, meanwhile, has a few main personal goals in mind for tonight's big preseason finale.
"In my mind, just being consistent," he said. "Continuing making good plays, making good decisions, getting the ball out quicker, more decisive with my feet. And just playing a little better."