Stars return to Colts camp, QB competition heats up ahead of preseason opener – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather Leave a comment


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It is officially game week for the Indianapolis Colts.

The team is gearing up to face their first opponent of the preseason. So Grand Park had some extra energy for the 11th practice of training camp, and Darius Leonard was responsible for some of the juice.

“The tempo was up, the music was up, you could feel the energy out there, head coach Frank Reich said. “Of course, having (Darius Leonard) out there doesn’t hurt matters, right? So, good to have him back out there.” 

The All-Pro linebacker finally made his training camp debut, fresh off his mammoth $100 million contract extension he signed Sunday.

But Leonard wasn’t the only face that Colts fans were happy to see on the field.  Both Quenton Nelson and Carson Wentz observed practice. Neither was wearing a boot, a brace, or walking with a limp.

“It’s very encouraging,” Reich said. “Of course, I joked with Carson (Wentz) when we got to 7-on-7 and said, ‘Let’s go, you’re up.’ Obviously, as we’ve said, we think they’re both doing very well. So, good to have them back out there today and mentally engaged.”

The two cornerstones of this Colts offense were on the field just in time to witness the first real quarterback battle of training camp. Rookie Sam Ehlinger split starting snaps with Jacob Eason, and according to Reich, they’ll be sharing the first team for the foreseeable future.

“It wasn’t anything with Jacob doing anything wrong. This is meritocracy and Sam has looked good. So we decided to split it up. The good news is they both looked sharp today,” Reich said.

“I thought it went well,” Ehlinger said. “Just being in the huddle with those guys. You know, my first snap, I saw they were press man across the board and I had a little stop route to TY (Hilton) and I was like, ‘I’m not turning that down, I’m throwing that to him.’ So it was cool.”

Eason also weighed in on the battle. 

“I mean, competition is great. In that QB room we have a great relationship, but we’re always competing. I think we feed off each other’s energy and competition breeds a better result, so I’m all about it,” he said.

While Eason remains in the driver’s seat for now and will start the Colts’ first preseason game on Sunday, the sixth-rounder from Texas has several days of joint practices with the Panthers to keep gaining ground in the quarterback race.

“There’s a lot on the line and Sam’s (Ehlinger) done a good job,” Reich said. “This is an important week. We have two practices against another team and then a preseason game.”

Buckle up for another quarterback competition in Indy — the first installment is set for Sunday when the Colts host Carolina in preseason action at 1 p.m.



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