The injury bug that plagued Carson Wentz during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles followed along when the quarterback departed for the Indianapolis Colts this offseason. Wentz, who sprained both of his ankles during the Colts’ Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, could miss Sunday’s tilt with the Tennessee Titans as a result.
If Wentz lands on the inactive list, the Colts reportedly plan to use multiple quarterbacks to fill the void.
Enter Brett Hundley and Jacob Eason
Including Wentz, the Colts only have two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. The other, 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason, did not see the field during a regular-season game before last Sunday. To date, he has attempted a mere five passes, two of which went to teammates and another to Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
However, the Colts do have a third signal-caller stashed on the practice squad: journeyman Brett Hundley. Under the NFL’s 2021 practice-squad rules, the team can elevate Hunley to the game-day roster without making a corresponding personnel move.
The Colts will take advantage of that rule this week, giving Hundley the “majority of starter reps” in practice Wednesday, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. More interesting still, they will seriously consider playing both Hundley and Eason during the course of their upcoming game.
Trailing 28-13 in the 4th quarter, Staubach replaces Morton but fumbles. The 49ers are unable to capitalize missing a field goal. pic.twitter.com/uiTJCpfCVc— Dallas Cowboys Old School (@CowboysOld) December 23, 2020
During the Super Bowl era, few teams have intentionally cycled between two quarterbacks within a game. Infamously, the Dallas Cowboys alternated Roger Staubach and Craig Morton in the early 1970s, though the plan proved short-lived. They eventually installed Staubach as the full-time starter and traded Morton away a few years later.
Some clubs have experimented with gadget plays run by a non-starting quarterback — the New Orleans Saints did this in recent seasons with Taysom Hill despite the presence of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees — but that approach largely hasn’t caught on either.
This season, the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears have created packages for first-round rookies Trey Lance and Justin Fields, respectively. However, in both instances, the teams did so to slowly acclimate their future starters before turning over the keys to them permanently.
If the Colts do alternate between Hundley and Eason on Sunday, it will mark a departure from the NFL norm.
Carson Wentz missed Thursday’s practice
While the Colts continue to hold out hope that Wentz will play Sunday, his absence from practice makes a return seem increasingly unlikely. According to The Athletic, the veteran signal-caller sat out Thursday, often an indication that the player in question will miss the upcoming game.
Because Wentz has extensive experience playing under Colts head coach Frank Reich — the two worked together in Philly from 2016 to ’17, helping secure the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory in the process — the team might not rule him out until later in the week. Even with compromised mobility, Wentz offers Indianapolis its best chance to topple the Titans and improve to 2-1.
Still, a Hundley-Eason pairing seems the most likely outcome given the nature of the injury.