Colts QB-Sam Ehlinger gets ready for a snap against the Vikings.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 21: Sam Ehlinger #4 of the Indianapolis Colts calls the play at the line of scrimmage against the Minnesota Vikings quarter of a preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Colts defeated the Vikings 12-10. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Colts Tuesday Notebook: Why Is Sam Ehlinger The New Backup Quarterback?

INDIANAPOLISFor the first time since 2017, the Colts will have their Thursday night contest inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.

It’ll be the Colts (3-5) and Jets (2-6) kicking off at 8:20 PM on Thursday.

What did we learn from the Colts on Tuesday?

  • With Game No. 9 here for the Colts they now have a third different backup quarterback. Rookie Sam Ehlinger will be Carson Wentz’s backup moving forward. Brett Hundley was waived on Monday, and is back on the practice squad. “Really like both guys,” Frank Reich said on Tuesday, referencing Ehlinger and Hundley. “Said all along, Sam is healthy, he’s continued to learn the offense. There are other considerations as well. But we feel that it’s the right move right now. Reich added this on Ehlinger, when asked about the ‘experience’ label that the staff said was the reason for having Hundley ahead of Jacob Eason earlier in the year: “Sam has some of the same qualities that Brett has, he has a natural poise to him, he has natural leadership qualities to him. Those are real high strengths to both of those guys. Both are athletic and can move. And Sam has played a lot of football. Not at this level, but he’s played a lot of winning football and he’s a young guy who we drafted, who we want to continue to develop. We are halfway through the year so you know the offense a little bit better. But it still is always a week-to-week consideration.” Other ‘considerations’ that Reich referenced involves some roster mechanics, with Ehlinger having to be exposed to waivers if you parted ways with him. Frankly, Hundley is more expendable.
  • On Monday, we talked about the injury to Tyquan Lewis opening the door for more Dayo Odeyingbo reps. From a versatile standpoint, both guys are thought to have skillsets to play outside on early downs and then slide inside on pass downs. Odeyingbo played 16 snaps on Sunday, lining up both outside and inside, and didn’t record a stat. “I would think the natural progression would be for him to play a little bit more every game,” Reich said on Tuesday. “I don’t think we will take him for 40 MPH to 80 MPH. I think we will slowly bump it up and play himself into shape, technique and fundamentals, system wise. We feel like he’s ready for that.”
  • When the Colts didn’t have T.Y. Hilton (and Parris Campbell) two weeks ago, they brought up veteran WR-Keke Coutee from the practice squad. Coutee played just 4 snaps against the 49ers, but he was targeted on 2 occasions. Coutee has a similar body type to Hilton so he would seem to be a candidate if the Colts are looking for another body to go with Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal and Ashton Dulin. Hilton suffered a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Titans and will not play on Thursday.
  • Michael Badgley will be the Colts kicker for a 4th straight game on Thursday night. Badgley is 3-for-3 on field goals and 11-for-11 on extra points with the Colts. Rodrigo Blankenship will miss a 4th game on injured reserve due to his hip ailment. Reich says the staff has yet to address the future at kicker once Hot Rod is healthy. This is something to watch if Badgley continues to be perfect. Hot Rod did not need surgery on his injured hip.
  • Quenton Nelson is back on the injury report this week with a toe ailment. The expectation is Nelson will still play Thursday night, but we point this out to acknowledge how many injuries the big fella has dealt with over the past month. Nelson has had 3 surgeries in the past year. That doesn’t include ankle and toe injuries in the first half of this season, too. This is easily the most we’ve seen Nelson on the injury report in his 4 NFL seasons.
  • The look of the Colts safeties on Thursday night remains to be see. Khari Willis (calf/knee) is unlikely to play after leaving the Titans loss early. The Colts could again turn to Andrew Sendejo (in place of Julian Blackmon) and George Odum (in place of Willis) at safety, or they can try other veteran options. On Monday, they called up Josh Jones (25 career starts) to the 53-man roster. They also have Jahleel Addae (62 career starts) on the practice squad.
  • The Colts are having just walk-throughs this week, and no practices, with a Thursday night kickoff coming in Week 9 against the Jets.

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