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Even With Steps of Progression, Colts’ Cautious Approach With Wentz’s Health Is Sensible

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

While quarterback Carson Wentz’s status for Week 1 is still very much in the air, there have been some positive signs throughout the last few days of training camp.

For starters, Wentz has been at the last six practices without a boot or limp, according to Zak Keefer, a writer for The Athletic.

“For whatever it’s worth, Carson Wentz has been out at practice each of the last six days, no boot, no cast,” Keefer tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “He’ll start taking walkthrough reps soon. 25 days until the opener.”

“Probably as involved as any injured QB I’ve covered (and there have been a few),” Keefer added. “Taking shadow drops, talking with Reich/Eason during every series. I don’t think it’s nothing.”

Later Wednesday afternoon, Keefer provided a more extensive update on Wentz. It appears the quarterback may be slightly ahead of schedule from where the team likely expected him to be when the injury first happened.

According to Keefer, Wentz has already started walkthroughs but has yet to begin the “intense part of rehab.”

But as Keefer also noted, the Colts aren’t going to let Wentz “push rehab.”

This is absolutely the correct approach by Indianapolis.

The Colts have been on the quarterback carousel since Andrew Luck retired. It’s been one placeholder after another, which is part of the reason the team traded for Wentz in the first place. Remember, too, Indy is hoping Wentz can be the long-term answer they’ve been searching for, so it’s very smart for them to take this process slow.

If he’s not ready, it would be irresponsible on the Colts’ part to let Wentz play. There’s no denying the potential the 6’5”, strong-armed quarterback has. The league witnessed it first-hand in 2017.

But even if Wentz is at 75-80%, sacrificing his long-term health just so he can play the first few weeks of the regular season could send Indianapolis down the exact same downward spiral which, in part, led to Luck’s early retirement. Yes, the injuries aren’t the same, but letting any injury linger throughout the season, regardless of the severity, never ends up being a good thing in the long-run.

Put simply: The Colts can’t afford to make that same mistake again.

The NFL is very much a quarterback-driven league. That’s becoming clearer as the league continues to transition and change. Mediocre or subpar quarterback play can limit a team’s chances of winning at a high level.

Take the Kansas City Chiefs, for example. Patrick Mahomes helped lead the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in close to five decades. Alex Smith was the team’s quarterback for several seasons before Mahomes even got there, and they couldn’t get over the hump.

Even after putting together multiple 11-win seasons, it was one first or second-round exit after the other. Mahomes is the difference, and the Colts are hoping Wentz can be the difference for them, too.

So far, the Colts have received very encouraging news on their quarterback. Being at six consecutive practices without a boot or limp is absolutely noteworthy.

Wentz should begin the rehab process in the near future. Once that happens, it will give the team a better idea of how much time he’s going to miss, if any.

For now, though, the Colts are comfortable with their quarterback options should Wentz not be able to play for an extended period.

Jacob Eason, who’s coming off an excellent performance in last Sunday’s preseason game, continues to improve with each practice. He’s showing that potentially being named the starting quarterback for the season-opener might not be too much for him.