Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor, and the Indianapolis Colts came into this season as a potential playoff team, and now they face long odds of playing meaningful football in January. Indy has opened the season 0-3, and while losses to the Seahawks, Rams, and rival Tennessee Titans aren’t awful, you never want to be winless after three games.
On top of the fact that Quenton Nelson went down with an injury, Wentz is starting to look more like the player we saw during his final season in Philadelphia, as his inconsistent accuracy and penchant for making boneheaded plays appears to have made their appearances this year. He can’t be fully to blame, though. He’s injured and has largely had bas protection.
But, worst of all, perhaps out of either desperation or poor roster management, some of Indianapolis’ snap distributions have been downright puzzling. Players like Taylor and other skill position performers have been rooted to the bench as Indy tries to spread it out and go deep.
The Week 3 snap counts are pretty unsightly. Head coach Frank Reich made several puzzling decisions with regards to how he allocated playing time. Taylor was so misused in this game that he was out-snapped by Nyheim Hines … despite facing a not-so-special Titans rush defense.
Colts RB Jonathan Taylor needs more playing time.
It seems the early deficit forced Reich to opt for the pass-catching back in Hines while hoping that Wentz can bring them back to life, even though that wasn’t necessarily working. And we’re just not sure when benching arguably your best offensive player (Taylor) is a productive move.
Reich needs to commit to a more run-oriented attack to get the offense in a rhythm and take the pressure off an injured Wentz.
Rookie tight end Kylen Granson might also have a bone to pick with the coaching staff, as the 12 snaps he received fell far short of Mo Alie Cox’s 28 and Jack Doyle’s 35. If you drafted him to be an H-back or unique receiving weapon from an in-line position, maybe give him chances to do that? Just a thought! Almost anything different will help at this point.
Ideally, the Colts should run the ball with Taylor and get Wentz some easy play-action throws off of it, especially if he isn’t 100% healthy. Instead, Indy wanted to throw the ball frequently, trailed early, and decided to abandon Taylor rather than exercise patience, trust their defense to make a play (it forced three turnovers!), and also give that unit some rest after being on the field for so long.
If the Colts want to avoid an 0-4 start against old friend Jacoby Brissett, changes will need to be made, and it starts with letting Taylor shoulder the load while mixing in others like Granson to throw defenses off with complex looks.