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Imagine for a moment that you are back in high school.

It’s finals week. And you are filling out those long and tedious study packets from your teachers in preparation for the big exam.

That’s the same case for the Indianapolis Colts right now.

At long last, the Colts can put on the full uniform, run out of the tunnel at Lucas Oil Stadium, and get back to game mode in front of a packed house.

The big finals packets are done against the Carolina Panthers from Grand Park in Westfield. And now it’s time to sharpen the pencils and get ready for the real action against Matt Rhule’s club.

In another split day, Kevin Bowen and myself each focused on one specific side of the field.

KB detailed earlier today what happened between the Panthers offense and the Colts defense, and I took care of what Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger were up to against the Carolina D-core.

These were my four big things from a busy day two of joint practice.

1) Sam Ehlinger is Forcing the Colts’ Hand

I said this earlier on our wrap-up video along with KB to finish up the day from Grand Park. (See bel0w ⬇️)

And someone asked me how Ehlinger could be forcing Chris Ballard’s hand when Eason had similar numbers to him today?

In a standout 11 vs 11 session, Ehlinger went 5/6 with four passes complete to Jonathan Taylor out of the backfield; Then Eason went 3/5 and also took a sack.

But here’s the answer to the question. Ehlinger wasn’t supposed to be this good. Hell, a sixth-round pick at times outshining the guy that was supposed THE guy? That’s how he’s doing it.

Eason has been sharp. But it hasn’t been enough to pull away with the job.

Frank Reich told the media early on in camp after the Carson Wentz injury that the job would be Eason’s, but he would have to earn it. And Ehlinger is making it as difficult as possible for the big boys to make the call.

Sunday is going to answer a lot of questions. Specifically on if Wentz can’t go week 1, which Plan ‘E’ do you turn too?

2) Mike Strachan Must Make the 53-Man Roster

Point. Set. Match.

To put it simply, if the Colts don’t give Mike Strachan a roster spot, he’s getting scooped up by someone else. That’s how good the seventh-round pick has been in camp.

And for the last two days, he hasn’t been beating second-team XFL dudes on routes. He’s been eating up Jaycee Horn, AKA the 8th overall pick from this past year’s draft.

Strachan’s versatility, athleticism, and hunger to succeed is going to take him far. The guy just catches footballs. Simple as that.

Now if he does make the team, that means one of DeMichael Harris, Dezmon Patmon, or Ashton Dulin is the odd man out.

How would you make that decision?

3) Don’t Mess with Jonathan Taylor

Not going to lie. It got pretty chippy out there today.

Actually, more than chippy. There were two legit fights. Then just absolute jawing and chirping the rest of the afternoon.

In his media session following practice, Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold said he didn’t like that it had to get to the point of punches being thrown, but that’s football sometimes.

On my side of practice, two fights began in a matter of 10 minutes apart from each other because Jonathan Taylor was eating today.

Him and Fishers High School alum Jeremy Chinn really got into it after a big hit along the far side. It happened again later on when Jordan Wilkins was horse-collared down by a Panther defender.

Moments like those are bound to happen when you get opposing teams practicing against each other. One thing is for sure though, the Colts will gladly throw down in the thunder dome.

4) Family Reunion?

This was honestly pretty weird to see.

Yes, that’s Doug Pederson. On the Colts sideline. In Colts gear. Next to Carson Wentz.


Now, if that means any beef that once existed between Wentz and Pederson is over, that’s great. But still interesting that Pederson was not only at practice, but wearing the horseshoe.

Reich said after practice that he would not be where he is without the Super Bowl Champion coach.

Could you imagine though if the Colts traded for Nick Foles and Pederson still showed continued to show up? Who knows how long he will be around, or even if he’s actually doing work here.

But if that’s the case, the Hard Knocks cameras may need to take a trip to the 317.