After yet another season with a new quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, Frank Reich announced that there's going to be another starting quarterback for the Colts moving forward this season. His name is Sam Ehlinger.
Since Frank Reich became Indy's head coach in 2018, the Colts have had six different starting quarterbacks. Now, with Ehlinger set to start for the remainder of the 2022 season, make that seven. Sam Ehlinger was a four-year starter for the Texas Longhorns, and in that time, he was 923/1476 (62.5% completion) for 11,436 yards, 94 TDs, and 27 INTs. All-in-all, Ehlinger was a solid prospect coming out of college.
The Sam Ehlinger Experience Transfers to the NFL
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That said, NFL teams weren't too interested in him becoming their franchise's next starting quarterback, as he dropped all the way to pick No. 218 in the 2021 NFL Draft. There was belief he dropped in value once he injured his shoulder in the 2021 Alamo Bowl, but scouts didn't believe Ehlinger would be drafted all too high to begin with. Lance Zierlein, an NFL analyst, projected him a Round 6-7 talent, and predicted him to be an average back-up or special teams player.
While it's not indicative of an incredible career afterwards, Ehlinger was very impressive in the 2021 preseason. If the Colts are lucky, he'll have the chance to continue that quality gameplay the remainder of this season. Ehlinger now has the chance to prove those scouts wrong.
An issue Ehlinger will face is that—outside of Michael Pittman Jr.— there really isn't much to throw to. Alec Pierce is a solid youngster, but he's not as impactful of a receiver as a young quarterback could hope for. To that point, however, the Colts have a very talented—and underutilized— running back in Jonathon Taylor, who's been nursing two injuries: turf toe and a sprained ankle. If he can get back to 100%, there'd be less reason to rely on the quarterback position.
Through six weeks, Matt Ryan—the 37-year-old veteran quarterback— ranks second in the league in passing attempts with 297. That's only 11 less than the league leader in Justin Herbert. I never knew it was possible to sprain a shoulder by throwing, but when you're as battered as Matt Ryan's been since joining the Colts, it's no real surprise; while ranking second in the league in passing attempts, he ranks first in sacks. The 15-year NFL veteran has been sacked 24 times in seven games. That's an average of over three sacks per game.
All-in-all, the Matt Ryan/Indianapolis Colts experiment has been rather lackluster. In fact, it's been terrible. Now, Sam Ehlinger gets to jumpstart his career with the remaining games of the Colts' season. However, if history repeats itself, the Colts will probably have a new quarterback at the beginning of next season anyway.
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