Colts’ Frank Reich backs Carson Wentz over ‘improvised’ shovel passes

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) pitches the ball while under pressure
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) pitches the ball while under pressure /

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich offers a supportive statement for risky Carson Wentz plays.

Anyone who has ever been a fan of a Carson Wentz-quarterbacked team knows the weekly roller coaster that his play takes fans through. Currently, the Indianapolis Colts and their fans are subject to his heart race-inducing style of play.

While Wentz, in his first season with the Colts, has significantly limited his number of turnovers, he still provides scares and sometimes frustration when he’ll try something like an underhand throw with his off hand while a defender is wrapped all over him.

It seems like he does something similar at least once a week, and while it’s rarely costly, it makes everyone who wants to see Indianapolis succeed heart skips a beat (that Titans game…). Regardless of the result of Wentz’s attempt at wizardry, fans are usually left yelling at the screen because the reward is rarely worth the risk.

Someone who isn’t yelling at Wentz about these improvised plays, however, is the person with the most power to stop them: his head coach. Frank Reich was asked his thoughts about Wentz’s weekly daring maneuvers, and Reich gave a lengthy and thoughtful response that assured Wentz still has his full support.

Colts Frank Reich supports Carson Wentz’s risky plays

The general message from Reich was that while these type of plays aren’t ideal, they have become commonplace in today’s NFL and the team wants to entrust Wentz with discerning the risk, reward, and overall success rate of his gambles. Reich understands that to get the most out of Wentz, they have to allow him to be himself— even if he sometimes causes all of Indianapolis to hold its breath.

While the times these plays go wrong for Wentz will be the most memorable, he has avoided disaster more often than not. On the season, Wentz only has three interceptions and five fumbles, a drastic change for the quarterback who led the NFL in interceptions last season in just 12 games.

So Reich has the right approach in giving Wentz this freedom, for now. The Colts would hate for one of these plays to ruin their chances down the stretch of the season, but preventing that isn’t only on Wentz, but with everyone else around him.

To optimize the skillset of Wentz, Indianapolis has to allot for these occasional snafus. That means the onus falls on the rest of the team to make sure they can withstand mistakes. So far, the Colts’ defense has been doing a good job at that, forcing 21 turnovers— second most in the NFL.

They will have to keep up that pace, and Indianapolis must limit mistakes everywhere else so that Wentz can play like Wentz. While that may sometime cost the team a game, it also gives them the best chance to win. That’s just the conundrum that is Carson Wentz.

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