Frank Reich: If Carson Wentz can play with sprained ankles vs Titans, ‘he’ll play’

Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS – There are two absolute certainties regarding Carson Wentz and his two sprained ankles.

Well, three if you can consider Jacob Eason will make his first NFL start if those ankle injuries keep Wentz out of Sunday’s important early-season meeting with the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

But back to the Wentz-related certainties.

  • 1: if possible, he’ll be under center as the Indianapolis Colts attempt to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2011.

“My history with Carson is he’s a pretty fast healer and that he’s tough,’’ Frank Reich said Monday, “and if there’s any chance he can play with these ankle sprains, then he’ll play.

“Obviously it’s an incredibly big game. We’re not holding anything back . . . so if he can play, he’ll play.’’

  • 2: if Wentz plays with the sprained ankles, it’s highly doubtful he’ll have the mobility that’s allowed him to escape heavy pressure in the pocket in the first two games. We’re talking about six sacks and an additional 15 hits.

“I know Carson has a very high threshold of pain,’’ Reich said. “Naturally, it goes without saying that when you’ve got a guy who’s a pocket passer, it affects his game a little bit less than a guy who’s a mobile quarterback.

“That’s not rocket science. Everybody understands that to be true.’’

In Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Wentz was sacked three times and hit on another eight occasions. But he avoided a handful of other potential sacks and was the Colts’ second-leading rusher with 37 yards on five scrambles. He picked up first downs with 12- and 14-yard runs.

Wentz was knocked from the game midway through the fourth quarter when he was pulled down by defensive tackle Aaron Donald. His right ankle got twisted under Donald as he rolled Wentz to the ground.

Reich revealed Monday Wentz sprained his left ankle earlier in the game, which means he performed at a relatively high level – passing, avoiding the rush, scrambling when necessary – after the first injury.

“He told me that after the game yesterday,’’ tight end Jack Doyle said. “I think he’s proven that to us quickly that he’s a tough, competitive guy.

“When you’ve got a guy out there the way he plays, with the toughness and the drive and just willing to do anything for the team to be successful . . . it’s easy to rally around a guy like that, and that’s exactly who Carson is.’’

Reich was unable to offer many details on the severity of Wentz’s sprained ankles or even whether he’ll be able to practice Wednesday. The possibility of placing Wentz on the NFL’s short-term injured reserve list – that means missing at least three games – had not been broached when Reich talked with the media via Zoom at 4 p.m., which was before his normal Monday evening meeting with general manager Chris Ballard and the team’s medical staff.

The evening meeting, Reich said, involves an early-week projection of who might not be available for the upcoming game.

“As far as having to make a decision on who’s practicing Wednesday, why try to make that decision Monday at 12 o’clock when I’ve got more pressing issues at the time?’’ he said. “That decision is an important decision, but there’s time to play that out.’’

Besides, Reich added, there are “competitive advantages and disadvantages to information and misinformation.

“You guys know me. I think I’ve been very fair with you guys for four years. When I think there’s information I can give you, that’s appropriate, I give it to you. But when I don’t have the information or if there’s reason not to give something . . . it doesn’t make sense to give out information before it needs to be given out at certain times.’’

If the Colts turn to Eason, Reich is confident his second-year QB will be ready.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in every man on this roster, and if Jacob has to play, then Jacob will be ready,’’ he said.

Sunday, Eason was thrust into a situation that was “as tough as it gets,’’ Reich said.

With Wentz gimpy and in pain on the sideline and the Colts trailing 27-24 with 2:23 remaining, Eason settled behind center Ryan Kelly for a pivotal last-ditch drive. It was first-and-10 at the Indy 25.

Eason’s first pass was high and incomplete to Zach Pascal. His second was an overthrow to Doyle that was intercepted by Rams’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Eason’s first NFL experience left him with an unsightly stat line: 2-for-5, 15 yards, one interception, an 8.3 passer rating.

“If called upon, I’m confident Jacob will do a nice job,’’ Reich said.

Medical Update

After the game, linebacker Jordan Glasgow was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Reich was unable to provide an update on right tackle Braden Smith, who missed the Rams game with a foot injury, and wideout Parris Campbell, who was out with an abdominal injury.

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