The indications this offseason have been quite clear in pointing to a legitimate competition for the Colts’ backup quarterback position. There was the report before free agency began that the Colts were looking at the backup QB market, and then Phillip Walker really impressed the Colts in rookie mini-camp and drew quite a bit of praise from Chuck Pagano.
So it should come as no surprise that the Colts do in fact have an open competition for the backup quarterback spot, which Chuck Pagano admitted yesterday.
“There’s competition at every position right now,” Pagano said. “You guys probably know a couple two, three starters; I know a couple two, three starters. But it’s an open competition right now between him and Stephen [Morris] and then we have a young rookie [Phillip Walker] in here who’s trying to find his way.”
Scott Tolzien was obviously the backup quarterback to Andrew Luck a year ago and he wound up starting one game, playing in a 28-7 loss to the Steelers with Luck out due to a concussion. Tolzien did ok in that game, but nothing that would indicate the Colts have to keep him around. And you might remember last year in training camp and preseason when Tolzien was drastically outplayed by Stephen Morris, who was on the practice squad last year. And then this offseason the Colts signed Phillip Walker as an undrafted free agent out of Temple, where he set numerous school passing records. So Tolzien is far from guaranteed his spot.
The advantage that Tolzien has is that he’s getting first team reps with Andrew Luck missing OTAs, which gives Tolzien the best chance to shine this offseason. But the Colts don’t plan to formulate their ideas until later this summer.
“Training camp,” Pagano said. “We’re going to see how they progress and obviously use the whole body of work from now until then. But until it’s live bullets and we get preseason games where you can actually hit a quarterback and they’re going to have to take a hit, avoid hits and run the offense against a defense that doesn’t have a three-yard halo rule. A lot can change.”
A lot certainly can change and the Colts don’t even know how many quarterbacks they will keep on their 53-man roster, but the good news for the Colts is that they’re not in the market for a starting quarterback, as Andrew Luck is their franchise player. But the Colts have had to rely on their backup quarterback starting ten games over the past two seasons, so they certainly are aware of the importance of that area too. It should be a very interesting battle between Tolzien, Morris, and Walker for that spot this offseason and training camp,