The next 24 to 48 hours will determine whether former Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger will make the 53-man roster for the Indianapolis Colts, but there’s little doubt that the second-year player make a strong case for head coach Frank Reich to carry three quarterbacks.
“Sam has had a phenomenal preseason,” Reich said. “It’s hard to imagine having a better preseason than he’s had. He’s done everything he’s needed to do.”
In the three preseason games, Ehlinger went 24-of-29 passing for 289 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions while rushing for 71 yards and a 45-yard touchdown run on Saturday, longer than any run he had while playing for the Longhorns.
Ehlinger looked particularly strong using his legs to make throw outside the pocket, but also showed off improved mechanics after spending the offseason working with throwing coach Tom House.
“There’s a lot of things, starting with my shoulder and the way that it’s shaped, the muscles that are dominating,” Ehlinger said. “That’s just from a functional, fitness, working on the muscular stuff, and then from the biomechanical signature, working on timing. The sequencing of when you want to throw, all the way from the ground up, so working on all of those things, and then working on mechanical variables within that signature. There’s been a lot that’s gone into it.”
With 37-year-old Matt Ryan holding the starting role and 33-year-old Nick Foles brought in this offseason as the backup, Ehlinger entered the preseason with an uphill battle to make the roster. And while Reich was non-committal about whether Ehlinger is going to be among the 53 players the Colts retain — at least one NFL reporter believes he will be — he’s proven capable enough to to deserve a backup role somewhere in the league and may even have enough upside to compete for a starting job in the near future.
[Tuesday 8:40 p.m. Central update]: Ehlinger ended up making the roster as the Colts decided to keep three quarterbacks and invest in Ehlinger’s future.