Colts: Did Jim Irsay just put too much pressure on Carson Wentz?
The Indianapolis Colts’ decision to trade for Carson Wentz was pretty risky considering how unwatchable he was for most of last season before he was benched in Week 12.
However, their lack of alternative options — Matthew Stafford was really the only other quarterback available who could help them reach their ceiling and he cost the Rams two first-round picks, a third-rounder and Jared Goff — made trading for Wentz the right call.
Not only is Wentz’s upside undeniable, but he’s several years younger than Stafford and was acquired for just a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional second-rounder next year. There also won’t be as much pressure on him to carry the franchise like he had to with the Eagles.
… or will there be?
During an interview with local radio this week, Colts owner Jim Irsay proclaimed that Indy’s success will hinge on how Wentz performs.
Given that the former No. 2 overall pick has yet to even have an official practice with his new team, is Irsay putting too much pressure on him?
Colts owner Jim Irsay just put a lot of pressure on Carson Wentz’s shoulders.
Here’s what Irsay had to say about Wentz’s importance in 2021 and beyond.
"“Let’s be honest about the situation, how well is Carson Wentz going to do, I think that is really going to dictate just how far we go,” Irsay told 1070 The Fan this week. “That’s just reality. Now, he needs support. He needs people around him. We saw the Super Bowl and (Patrick) Mahomes with no (offensive) tackles.“He looked pedestrian. That’ll happen because you need support. But, really, if Frank Reich can get Carson Wentz’s play to an extremely high level and we feel that he can, and Carson, unquestionably, has every single tool mentally, physically, emotionally to do that, then you’ve got something special.”"
We know Irsay isn’t part of the front office or coaching staff. It’s become evident that part of an owner’s job is to wax poetic about his team and new acquisitions (look no further than Jerry Jones). However, we can’t help but wonder if the 61-year-old went a little too far with these comments.
That obviously isn’t to say we don’t believe in Wentz. We just don’t believe it was necessary for Irsay to intensify the “pressure” narrative surrounding the 28-year-old quarterback, who is also looking to rediscover his confidence after the dreadful year he put together last season.
That can’t be understated.
The Colts owner admittedly made some salient points about the situation Wentz is walking into, as he’ll have the support of a potent rushing attack and formidable offensive line. Indy’s elite defense will also lessen the pressure on him to score on every possession.
However, that’s precisely why these comments were unnecessary: Wentz doesn’t have to be spectacular for Indianapolis to have success with him as their quarterback. While he should be expected to do a lot more than Philip Rivers, nobody’s asking him to be Patrick Mahomes.
Again, we totally get the context that fueled Irsay’s analysis. Perhaps we’re being overly critical, but he probably could’ve conveyed that he’s excited to have Wentz under center without directly saying the Colts’ success moving forward will fall entirely on his shoulders.
After all, that’s part of why he wanted out of Philadelphia in the first place.