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Will Scott Tolzien's Third NFL Start Come Thursday Night?

Intro: The Thanksgiving plate for Scott Tolzien could have a much larger meal in front of him this Thursday night. Who is Tolzien, the man expected to be called upon if Andrew Luck can’t go against the Steelers?


INDIANAPOLIS – The reality is this: Pat McAfee and Scott Tolzien have thrown the same number of passes in the last three years.

And one could easily argue that the ball McAfee threw was much more meaningful than Tolzien's, which came in a 38-8 blowout loss with Green Bay last season. 

Are more meaningful passes coming Tolzien's way Thursday night?

Signs are pointing in that direction as Andrew Luck remains in the concussion protocol with game day just 48 hours away.

Tolzien is a six-year NFL veteran, who has played in six career games.

A pair of starts in 2013 is the largest chunk of playing time Tolzien has received in his career.

In his NFL life, Tolzien is 56-of-91 (61.5 percent) for 721 yards, 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions.

Game reps in the regular season are always scarce for a backup quarterback.

That's true for Tolzien, who came over from Green Bay in the offseason.

"He's a great young man," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this offseason after Tolzien joined the Colts. "No one works harder than Scott. His preparation on the field, off the field, is special. I don't think there's been a day when Scott's been in Green Bay and he wasn't out there after practice for an extra 30 minutes.

"He puts everything he has into it. I think he will be a great fit for Andrew Luck and that offensive staff."

The work ethic for Tolzien has never been more evident this week.

On Monday night, Tolzien was still at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center well past 10:00 p.m.

It was time to cram for the opportunity that every backup says they prepare for each week, even if fans hope such a chance never comes.

"It's my job to always be ready," Tolzien says. "That's my goal as a professional to do that every week."

The Colts still have not revealed their exact path if Luck can't go on Thursday.

Last year, the Colts even deviated from the traditional one quarterback game plan in the team's season finale.

In Week 17, Josh Freeman was the primary quarterback and Ryan Lindley was used in the two-minute role.

Would the Colts use a similar plan this Thursday with Tolzien and practice squad quarterback Stephen Morris?

One advantage that Tolzien has found in 2016 compared to most backups around the league is the amount of practice work he has received (something Freeman and Lindley didn't have at all).

With Luck resting at some point during practice each week this season, Tolzien has received precious first-team reps.

Tuesday offered a scene that had a starting quarterback type media crowd around the locker of Tolzien.

After apologizing for not cleaning his locker, Tolzien was his typical calm self, barely raising his voice in fielding more than a dozen questions.

That presence has reverberated around the Indy locker room and could be needed in a slightly more chaotic environment, with playoff chances large at stake, come primetime on Thursday.

"We have our timing down," T.Y. Hilton said of his rapport with Tolzien.

"We feel good with Scott back there. We are going to be alright."

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