Sam Ehlinger’s game growing from facing Colts defense

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Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger has had to line up across from one of the best defenses in the NFL time and time again throughout training camp and the preseason.

While this may lead to some down moments during practice, the sixth-round pick feels that going up against that type of defense will only make him better. With the season just a few weeks away, Ehlinger has constantly battled for more reps in the offense.

“This defense is incredible. Just watching film from other teams and seeing what guys do in actual games, it’s pretty impressive what our defense is able to pull off. They are running guys in man and dropping back in zone to give the quarterback tough looks,” Ehlinger told reporters this week. “It’s really impressive, and then obviously not just the scheme but the players that you have on the other side of the ball, starting with the defensive line and all the way across the board. I mean to be able to practice against them every day, I think it’s really making all of us better.”

The Colts defense has a chance to make a tier jump in 2021. They were a solid unit in 2020 but the lack of a consistent edge rusher kept them from hitting that upper echelon of units across the league.

After adding defensive end Kwity Paye in the first round of the draft and with some hopeful development from Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay, the Colts have a chance to make their defense a legit unit in the NFL.

It’s something Ehlinger has noticed in practice, especially when it comes to fitting throws into tight windows.

“Yeah, absolutely – tight windows and even when they’re in man-to-man very rarely do you have a guy running free,” said Ehlinger. “If you want a big play or you want a completion you’ve got to be perfect with your accuracy because of how good the guys are that are defending them.”

Ehlinger will be getting the start on Saturday for the preseason Week 2 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings so it will be interesting to see how comfortable he is facing another defense in his early career.

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