Sport How Wentz’s Surgery Impacts Two Teams
Sam Ehlinger turning heads in Colts camp, with help from his 'freak' rookie receiver
The Indianapolis Colts truly don’t know who their starting quarterback will be on Sept. 12, one month from Thursday, when the Seattle Seahawks arrive for their Week 1 game. It could be Carson Wentz, currently sidelined with a foot injury that appears to have turned in a positive direction in the past few days. It could be Jacob Eason, the 2020 fourth-round draft pick — and one-time five-star recruit — who is coming off what amounted to a redshirt season as a rookie. And it could be Sam Ehlinger, the former Texas QB who was more Bronko Nagurski in college than Brett Favre but who is impressing with each day at Colts camp.
Plus, a potential Foles landing spot (that isn’t Indy), issues for the Bills if they don’t finish Josh Allen’s deal, and more.
At my seventh camp today, and yes, the days are running together now …
Colts coach Frank Reich passed along the news this morning that Carson Wentz will undergo foot surgery and miss 5 to 12 weeks (which is a pretty wide range). And that means former fourth-round pick Jacob Eason is going to get a good, long look over the next few weeks. Eason was an elite high-school recruit, started as a freshman at Georgia, then saw his run in Athens come to an end after Jake Fromm beat him out the following year and a number of off-field issues surfaced. The talent, though, remained, and showed up in flashes at Washington—enough so that the most common comp I got on him ahead of the 2020 draft was Drew Bledsoe.
Frank Reich, Nick Foles Openly Teasing Possible Trade Through Media Quotes
Frank Reich and Nick Foles giving some spicy quotes.That is an underwhelming group, to be kind about it. The Colts have playoff aspirations given the talent at their disposal and how good they've been over the last four years despite a rotating cast of characters under center. The natural next step would be to trade for a more reliable name than the ones above and try to ensure the season doesn't go down the toilet in the first month if Wentz is out for a while.
And when Ithe other about the possibility Wentz could miss time, you could hear that getting a look at Eason would be a silver lining in the kind of unfortunate situation that his team, obviously, has become accustomed to managing at quarterback the last few years.
“We’ll figure it out,” Ballard says. “We’ve got some young quarterbacks on the roster that we like. It’ll be good to see Jacob Eason. He’s got a lot of talent, we’ll see what he can handle, and then we’ll adjust for what he can do, see what Sam [Ehlinger] can do, and we’ll adjust as we go forward. But … How do you win? How can you win the game? Whoever’s playing quarterback, they’re going to play the way Frank wants them to play, and we’ll try to find a way to scratch out wins.”
How Wentz’s Surgery Impacts Two Teams
Yahoo Sports’ Lajethro Jenkins shares his thoughts on the Bulls’ move to bring in the point guard from the Pelicans.
• The other obvious piece to this is the Eagles. If Wentz fails to either play 75% of the Colts’ snaps, or play 70% of snaps with Indy making the playoffs, then the first-rounder that the Eagles dealt for in February will become a second-rounder. And that’s pretty relevant, considering that Philly could be in the market for a quarterback (like, say, Deshaun Watson) either via trade or in the draft over the next year. If Wentz goes on the regular-season PUP list, that’d knock him out for six weeks. Which, from a games perspective (which is a little different than a snaps perspective, obviously) would amount to 35% of the season, and almost certainly mean the final return for Philly would be a 2 and a 3, rather than a 1 and a 3. Philly used the third-round pick, by the way, to move from 12 to 10 and select Heisman winner DeVonta Smith last spring.
• This quote from Nick Foles, the Bears’ third quarterback, was interesting: “I don’t want to go to someone that I don’t know. When you have a great coaching staff, you have something special. Big reason we were great in Philly was we had a great coaching staff. It put us in position to succeed ... I don’t want to just go somewhere where I don’t know them, I don’t know the offense. I’ve gone down that road before and it’s not fun.” So, I can say that the Bears very much value what Foles will bring in helping the team develop Justin Fields. And part of that is that he needs fewer reps, which has allowed for the coaches to put Fields exclusively with the 2s (who get more reps than the 3s). But there is a team I’d watch here, and it’s not yet the Colts, who I think might have reservations about the idea of interesting Foles into the lineup with Wentz out,(Reich loves Foles, but also is well-aware of the awkwardness that putting those two together could present). It’s the Jets. They could use a veteran backup to , and GM Joe Douglas was together with Foles in Philly. I wouldn’t rule that one out.
Fantasy Injury Updates: Latest news on Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, Saquon Barkley before 2021 fantasy football drafts
Quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz and RB Saquon Barkley are high on the list of injury concerns heading into 2021 fantasy football drafts. Here are the latest updates so you can adjust your rankings and cheat sheets.Below, we'll look at three of the most notable QB and RB injuries leading up to 2021 fantasy football drafts.
• While we’re on the Bears, I talked at length with Bears GM Ryan Pace the other day about identifying Fields as the guy worth moving up for. And what did it for Pace was antithetical to some pre-draft narratives on the former Ohio State star. It did it for the Bears' coaches too. “With the amount of Zoom interviews we do, you really got to get your coaches involved deeply to firmly grasp all that,” Pace says. “We knew not only was he talented, but his football IQ, his ability to process, all those things were high. Being connected with coaches on that gave us a lot of confidence, that he had all those traits.” For what it’s worth, that dovetailed with what Nagy told me in seeing Fields work: “He's going to give it his all, he cares so much—again the word’s ‘prepared,’ ” Nagy says. “He's always going to be prepared. And he's got talent. So there have been a lot of quarterbacks that have been able to come in their rookie year and do things. And every situation, teams build a little—they’ve all had their own situations and scenarios. So that’s the ultimate goal, to get him ready as soon as we can. But we got to be able to see more.” And they’ll get to see more in a little more than a week when preseason games get rolling.
Cowboys, Colts are showing why the 49ers held onto Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will tell you that he has lived with all his eggs in one quarterback basket. This is why the 49ers made one costly decision in the offseason, trading a significant haul of draft picks for the right to select Garoppolo’s presumed successor, Trey Lance. It’s also why the 49ers made another less conventional decision — holding onto Garoppolo and rolling the dice on 2021 with both players in the same quarterbacks room.
• I was with the Browns on Monday, and we’ll have more on them in the next week. But I’ll say that it was the first time I can remember going to their camp where there wasn’t some sort of overwhelming storyline that threatened to seep into how the season—it’s just a good, well-run team getting itself ready. Also, when offensive-line depth is atop the list of things to work out, I’d say the roster is in pretty good shape. Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry have done a heck of a job.
• Bills GM Brandon Beane was pretty clear on Buffalo radio Monday in saying that Josh Allen’s contract has to get done soon or be tabled until 2022. That put some pressure on Allen’s camp, but it puts pressure on the team too. The risk in waiting, of course, is that the price could go up over the next year. And for the quarterbacks in Allen’s spot, the thing that could change the price is. Chances are, next spring, Rodgers will be doing a new contract with either the Packers or a new team, since his current contract now expires after 2022. And if Rodgers plays the way he did last year again, the price will be high regardless of who’s picking up the tab.
• While we’re there, the subject of the receiver market being complicated came up in regards to Packers WR Davante Adams—and it is very much true. The gap in average per year from DeAndre Hopkins ($27.25 million) to Julio Jones ($22 million), Keenan Allen ($20.25 million) and Amari Cooper ($20 million) is indeed cavernous. But there’s nuance to Hopkins’s deal. He signed it after a trade, and with three years left on his old deal. And over its first three years, it’s worth just over $60 million. Adams, on the other hand, is going into a contract year. And so the question then is whether you look at Hopkins and Hopkins only as the top of the market. Or you consider where Jones, Allen and Cooper landed as important markers too, since they signed more conventional extensions.
Sean Payton admits Michael Thomas' surgery should have happened sooner
The New Orleans Saints will be missing star receiver Michael Thomas at the start of the season. Saints head coach Sean Payton addressed the matter of Thomas undergoing ankle surgery in June with reporters ahead of his team's first practice of training camp on Wednesday, per nola.com's Rod Walker. Instead of opening training camp on the field, Thomas was placed on the PUP list on Tuesday. Why did Michael Thomas undergo surgery so late? Thomas was reported to need ankle surgery all the way back in January, following a season in which he sustained an ankle injury in Week 1, returned in Week 9 and was ruled out for the rest of the regular season in Week 14.
• Witnessed something pretty cool on Monday morning in Detroit: Lions coach Dan Campbell set up the team meeting area in the field house for players and coaches to watch David Blough’s wife, Melissa Gonzalez, run the 400 hurdles in Tokyo, taking what they did the other night (Blough watched with the quarterbacks, and was surprised to see his coaches join them in the room before Gonzalez’s heat) to another level. Overall, to me, it’s indicative of a pretty fun environment the new staff has put in place there. Maybe it means something tangible in the fall, maybe it doesn’t. But I can tell you the guys there have prioritized it.
• The NFL is practicing what they’ve preached in mandating vaccinations for league-office employees. And while there is some wiggle room in the fact that they’ll allow for some medical and religious exemptions, I can tell you, having talked to coaches about this, some applications for those have been rejected. Which, of course, says that if you’re not getting the shots, you better have a good reason for it.
• I’ll be interested to see if prep super-recruitto graduate high school a year early and enroll at Ohio State has a ripple effect. In Ewers’s case, it will allow him to make NIL money now. Down the line, it also could put him in position to get to the NFL quicker—in 2024, rather than 2025. And I’d think the combination of those two things might entice elite players to try and graduate from high school in three years rather than four. Lots of college players are put on tracks to graduate in three years when they enroll, so it’s not that out of whack to consider that the same could happen with high schoolers. Which could (and we’re getting ahead of ourselves) could mean more 19- and 20-year-olds in the draft.
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Sam Ehlinger, NFL starting QB? Sixth-round rookie gets first-team reps at Colts practice .
Sam Ehlinger, NFL starting QB? Sixth-round rookie gets first-team reps at Colts practiceTrevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson both figure to be Week 1 starters. Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones — not so much. And then there's Sam Ehlinger.