INDIANAPOLIS – The principles have spoken in the Indianapolis Colts’ Who’s the QB? saga, and said about as little as possible.
You want insight? Don’t we all.
Instead, the Colts have offered as few specifics as possible and found different ways of keeping everyone outside of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center guessing as they prepare for Sunday’s AFC South clash with the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
We know it won’t be rookie Sam Ehlinger, who’s on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.
Frank Reich mentioned the subterfuge is a “competitive advantage,’’ and he’s right. Keep the Titans wondering and having to prepare for different styles.
Wentz didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, and it’s anyone’s guess whether his two sprained ankles – the right one is giving him the most trouble – will allow him to practice Friday. His practice status aside, there’s every chance he starts Sunday against the Titans with zero reps during the week.
Reich generally requires a player to practice Friday before being cleared to play Sunday. There have been rare exceptions – T.Y. Hilton and his severe ankle sprain in December 2018 – but Reich’s never had a quarterback start without practice.
And Wentz, who’s dealt with numerous injuries during his six-year career, including ankle issues, couldn’t remember a time he started a game without practicing at least on a limited basis during the week.
“A lot of unknowns,’’ he said Wednesday.
Twenty-four hours didn’t clear the air. Uncertainty was the theme Thursday.
Position coach Scott Milanovich said any questions regarding who’s taking reps with the starting unit or preparations for the Titans should be directed at Reich.
Whichever QB gets the nod Sunday, he insisted, will be ready. It’s conceivable Hundley and Eason both will get playing time if Wentz is out.
“From a coach’s perspective, you always think he’s going to be ready,’’ Milanovich said. “But it’s really hard to tell until guys play. I’m trying to think of a guy where we put him in the game and didn’t feel like he was ready. I can’t think of a time.
“But you don’t truly know until the bullets start flying on Sunday.’’
Reich is approaching the Titans game as if Wentz won’t be available.
“We have to approach it like he’s not going to be in there given everything that we know at this point and then be surprised if he is in there,’’ he said. “He’s not ruled out. We’ll just see how it goes.
“But we’re building a game plan that has enough breath in it. It’s a simple game plan.’’
So that brings us to Eason and Hundley.
The 2020 fourth-round draft pick versus the 28-year-old who was signed off the streets July 31.
A strong-armed prospect who has thrown five NFL passes versus a journeyman with nine career starts, but none since 2017 with Green Bay when he replaced an injured Aaron Rodgers in week 6.
Neither option is exactly enticing considering the Colts face the Titans in an early-season AFC South showdown and are attempting to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2011.
And neither was in any mood to shed light on what has become a distressing quarterback situation.
What role does Eason envision handling Sunday?
“Just take it day-by-day and let coach Reich decide there,’’ he said. “Just preparing. Hey, everybody in that room’s preparing.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen. Leave that decision up to coach Reich and just prepare like I am the guy.’’
But that’s an issue that can’t be ignored.
Reich was given multiple opportunities Wednesday to announce Eason would be the starter if Wentz is unable to play, but opted to deflect.
“I’m not going to project it,’’ he said. “Let’s just wait to see what we know about Carson first and then I’ll make that statement.’’
That clearly left the door ajar for Hundley. And NFL Network reported Thursday Hundley took the majority of reps with the starting offense.
Hundley deftly stiff-armed a reporter when he was asked how it’s been to take some reps with the starting unit.
“Oh, man, all rep situations, man, ask coach,’’ he replied with a wide grin.
Hundley mentioned his approach to week 3 is no different than it was for week 1, or for any week during a career that begin when the Packers selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.
“Honestly, I just take it one week at a time,’’ he said. “Every week I’ve been here, learning the offense, getting things down more than I had the day before. My preparation hasn’t changed at all.
“It’s year 7 for me, so I sort of know how to roll with it.’’
That be-ready-for-anything-at-anytime mentality was reinforced in week 6 of the 2017 season. Rodgers made his usual start against Minnesota, but was forced from the game with a broken right collarbone.
Enter, Hundley. He would start nine games – 3-6 as a starter – as Rodgers spent time on the injured reserve list.
What did he learn from that experience?
“Things change fast,’’ Hundley said. “In the NFL, that’s one of the biggest things, especially being a backup quarterback. You’ve just got to be ready and sometimes that means being ready in any given situation.
“Honestly, stay ready.’’
Hundley insisted he’s comfortable with the playbook, if indeed he starts against the Titans.
“I feel good with this offense,’’ he said. “Thankfully I was with Green Bay’s offense so there’s some transition. You learn it and you take it one day at a time. No matter what happens, each day is just figuring it out.
“I’ll be ready if called upon.’’