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Analyzing the Indianapolis Colts’ confusing but talent-rich 2022 QB room

The Indianapolis Colts have arguably the most experienced quarterback room in the NFL. Matt Ryan and Nick Foles have a combined 24 years of experience, five Pro Bowls, an All-Pro, rookie of the year, offensive player of the year, MVP, two Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl MVP, and a Super Bowl win between them. They also share the same opponent in their Super Bowl appearances.

The accomplishments of this quarterback room rival that of when Peyton Manning was the starter. There is also a lot of optimism for this group of QBs as well. The talent may not rival that of the Manning or Andrew Luck eras. However, it’s miles better than anything the team has had since Luck retired. In fact, there might just be too much talent in this position. And the Colts might have to let go of some of it.

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Behind Ryan and Foles is second-year man Sam Ehlinger and undrafted rookie free agent Jack Coan. Ehlinger is a player that general manager Chris Ballard and Frank Reich really like. His talent is good but it’s the other things he brings that they really like. Part of the reason why after trading Carson Wentz they didn’t rush out to get another QB. 

Then there’s the former Notre Dame quarterback in Coan. He was a solid QB in college and depending on who you talk to his NFL projection varies anywhere from backup to solid starter. Considering the possible range of outcomes from Coan and the team’s feelings towards Ehlinger, it was a bit surprising that the Colts added Coan. He did draw comparisons to Brian Hoyer during the scouting process. There is a theory as to why the team selected Coan.

With Ryan as the starter and Foles as the backup, it doesn’t seem like the team would want to keep three active quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. So, that would mean Ehlinger is going back to the practice squad. However, if he’s on the practice squad he would be eligible for any other team to select him. Therefore there’s a risk the Colts could lose him to another team and possibly not be able to get him back. Unless they traded for him. But trading for a backup QB doesn’t happen all that often.

On the other hand, Coan does have some more NFL desirable traits than Ehlinger. For one, Coan has the bigger arm and is more accurate, at least based on their collegiate stats. However, Ehlinger’s intangibles are something that just can’t be taught and there is something to be said about them. So, why did the team bring in Coan despite the fact they like Ehlinger and have Foles as the backup?

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Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s possible that they trade Foles if another team suffers a big injury to their starting quarterback. Or maybe the team cuts him. The latter is very unlikely to happen. It’s also possible the Colts know they have no long-term answer at the QB position, as Ryan is closer to retiring than his prime, Foles has shown to be nothing more than a backup and Ehlinger looks to be in the same boat as Foles. So, they want to get an up-close view and assessment of Coan to see if there is anything there.

As previously mentioned, depending on who you talk to Coan could be an NFL starter or a backup. So, maybe the Indianapolis Colts got Coan knowing that with the obtaining of Foles that Ehlinger would be unprotected on the practice squad. Therefore, Coan could be the new QB project, or they simply wanted a closer look at him and will be fine if he’s not a part of their organization once the season gets underway.

Regardless though, the team does have a hard decision to make at their quarterback position. Do they decide to carry three QBs and take a roster spot away from another position group, and put Coan on the practice squad? Or do they put Ehlinger on the practice squad and hope they can get Coan back? That is of course if they like what they see from him. 

The trimming of the roster to 53 men, is always challenging. There’s always someone that gets cut that is a surprise. Might this year’s surprise be Ehlinger? From their athleticism, physical abilities, and makeup Coan does project to be the better NFL QB prospect.

This team currently has no answer to the Franchise QB question. The team and to a degree fans know what there is with Ehlinger. Coan is the unknown who also possesses the higher ceiling. It’s plausible that the Indianapolis Colts choose Coan over Ehlinger. Keep an eye on how these two perform in the preseason games.

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