Colts considering options in protecting Carson Wentz, QBs from COVID-19

Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS – There’s one noticeable position with the Indianapolis Colts that hasn’t been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak: quarterback.

Coach Frank Reich, general manager Chris Ballard and their support staff are doing everything in their power to ensure that doesn’t change.

Carson Wentz is one of several front-line Colts who remain unvaccinated, and losing him for any length of time would jeopardize their ability to secure a playoff berth or make any type of deep run in the postseason.

Reich said Monday the team has a plan for the entire team, and certain individuals.

“Carson being one of them, but not the only person,’’ he said.

Players are due back at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center Wednesday, but meetings probably will be held remotely as a precaution considering the COVID-19 outbreak with the team.

Under that scenario, Reich said, “players just come in for practice.’’

Fourteen players have landed on the COVID-19 list in the past six days.

“I don’t want to go into detail (on) every person that we might do a little extra with, but those things are being talked about and discussed,’’ Reich said.

To this point, the Colts haven’t taken the extreme measure of totally isolating Wentz or at least one quarterback to ensure he’s available for Sunday’s meeting with the Las Vegas Raiders in Lucas Oil Stadium, and for longer.

“No, but all things are being considered at this point,’’ Reich said. “We have not done that to this point.’’

Instead, the quarterbacks have taken it upon themselves to remain as isolated as possible inside the team complex while preparing for an upcoming game.

“The setup in the building is such that the guys have been very smart about that,’’ Reich said. “There have been times where we have all meet together, but there’s other times where normally the guys might be all watching tape together in the same room and so there’s a lot less of that going on.

“We kind of minimize that.’’

It’s a blow to the team when it’s without its All-Pro left guard (Quenton Nelson), All-Pro linebacker (Darius Leonard) and starters such as safety Khari Willis, guard Mark Glowinski and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin.

Losing Wentz would be a seismic blow to a team with serious aspirations to make a deep playoff run. The Colts are 9-6, have won eight of their last 10 and are the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff picture.

Wentz confirmed last week he remains unvaccinated.

“For me, nothing has changed,’’ he said while addressing the media with a covering over his mouth and nose. “We talked about it a lot early in the year and nothing has really changed for me on that front.’’

From a team standpoint, there is no viable quarterback option behind Wentz.

Rookie Sam Ehlinger is the backup, and his NFL experience consists of three appearances and 18 total snaps in mop-up time. The sixth-round draft pick has yet to throw an NFL pass and has 9 yards on three carries.

Brett Hundley and James Morgan are on the practice squad.

Hundley has started nine games, but none since week 17 of 2017 with Green Bay.

Morgan, a 2020 fourth-round pick of the New York Jets, hasn’t stepped on the field in a regular-season game. In four collegiate seasons with Bowling Green and Florida International, the 6-4, 229-pounder passed for 8,654 yards with 65 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

Philip Rivers suddenly retired after leading the Colts to the playoffs in 2020, and expressed an interest to return to the NFL this season under the right circumstances. The New Orleans Saints reached out to Rivers recently, but he declined their overtures.

Reich said the Colts have not talked with Rivers, just in case.

“No,’’ he said. “Right now we’re just in the situation that we’re in. We’re happy with the guys that we’ve got here.

“Just continue to monitor it day-by-day.’’

Listen to the Colts Blue Zone Podcast for weekly coverage and analysis of the Indianapolis Colts.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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