What to know about Carson Wentz's injury, Brett Hundley, Jacob Eason and the Colts' starting QB job

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Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich was asked about the importance of getting backup quarterback Jacob Eason reps in preparation to start Sunday at Tennessee with starter Carson Wentz dealing with two sprained ankles. Reich's answer:

“Just going to evaluate it every day. We’ve got confidence in… We’ve got confidence in our roster.”

As IndyStar columnist Gregg Doyel pointed out, the words "Jacob" or "Eason" didn't come out of Reich's mouth. When Reich was asked to confirm Eason would start Sunday if Wentz couldn't, he said, “I’m not going to project.”

Thursday, the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero tweeted that practice squad quarterback Brett Hundley "took the majority of starter reps in practice Wednesday." Pelissero said Hundley and Eason could play if Wentz is out, but the hope is that Wentz can play.

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Here is everything you need to know about the Colts quarterback situation:

Carson Wentz (ankles) may not play Sunday

Wentz sprained his left ankle during the third quarter of Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, then the right one in the fourth quarter. He did not play after suffering the right ankle sprain. Wednesday, Wentz wasn't wearing a walking boot when he met with the media but he was walking gingerly and said his right ankle is worse than his left.

“It’s still sore. Both of them,” Wentz said. “Each day, each couple of hours, it’s gotten better, so we’ll kind of just see how it continues to progress, listen to the doctors, listen to my body and see where we’re at.”

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) watches a pass by Brett Hundley during a combined Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers practice at Grand Park in Westfield on Thursday, August 12, 2021, during Colts camp.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) watches a pass by Brett Hundley during a combined Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers practice at Grand Park in Westfield on Thursday, August 12, 2021, during Colts camp.

Who is Brett Hundley?

Hundley was signed after training camp opened following a different injury to Wentz. Hundley played behind Eason and Sam Ehlinger, who is on injured reserve due to his knee, in training camp and was 6-of-12 for 52 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in the preseason.

Hundley started 9 games for Green Bay in 2017, completing 60.8% of his passes for 1,836 yards with 9 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 58.5 passer rating. The Packers went 3-6 with Hundley starting, beating teams that would finish a combined 10-38 and losing to teams with a combined 66-30 record.

Hundley rushed for for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns on 36 carries, a 7.5-yard average, in 2017. That would be a point in his favor given the way the Colts' offensive line has played the first two games.

Why isn't Jacob Eason the Colts backup?

That is the question of the hour. He was put in a difficult situation Sunday, playing in the final 2:23 and needing to drive his team for a game-tying or -winning score from his own 25-yard line. He finished 2-of-5 for 15 yards with a poor decision on an interception, but Michael Pittman also dropped a 20-yard pass. Eason completed a 10-yard pass then with 13 seconds left, hit Zach Pascal for 5 yards, the ball was lateraled to Pittman, then back to Eason, who lateraled it to Nyheim Hines for no gain. The Colts could have signed a veteran backup at any point in the offseason but chose Eason.

Eason appeared in all three preseason games, completing 66.1% of his passes for 389 yards with 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and an 83.3 passer rating.

When will we know if Carson Wentz will start Sunday?

It's entirely possible it won't be until just before the game. Reich said he rarely plays someone who hasn't practiced at least once by Friday, and has never done so with a quarterback. But he has made exceptions, including for T.Y. Hilton in 2018, when he was dealing with a low and high ankle sprain in the same leg. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner played the final month of the 2020 season on a badly sprained ankle after sitting out practice each week.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts' QB situation: Carson Wentz, Jacob Eason or Brett Hundley?