Is Carson Wentz the answer at quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts?
In 2020, the Indianapolis Colts sent a third-round draft pick and a conditional first-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz. A deal that Frank Reich was ecstatic about, rejoining with the QB he loved in Philly during Frank’s time as an offensive coordinator.
During the 2016 draft process, Frank and Carson shared a faithful background through God and a specific bible verse, 1 Peter 3:15. The bond of their relationship began once the verse was revealed and ultimately led to the selection of Wentz to the Eagles.
Fast forward five years and that bond renewed itself in 2021. After the disastrous 2020 season in Philadelphia, the question for Wentz was, “Can Frank Reich revive the career of the once MVP candidate?”
Wentz answered that question this season by throwing for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns, and seven interceptions; an extreme improvement from 2020.
Why is the narrative of this offseason Anti-Carson Wentz?
The Colts in 2021 finished the season with a 9-8 record after starting the season 1-4. Carson Wentz suffered an injury at the beginning of training camp, which caused the QB to miss quality practice time in the offense with his new team. Things didn’t start greatly at all, and they finished even worse.
With a win and in scenario for the last two games of the season, it seemed Indy was ill-prepared for a playoff run, losing to the Raiders and suffering an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars. This has led to multiple rumors about Wentz’s future in Indy.
But were the two losses solely because of Carson Wentz? The simple answer is yes, being that he’s the QB of the same team that Phillip Rivers took to the playoffs in 2020. However, that’s not how football works.
Quarterback play isn’t the only factor for a team’s performance
One reason Indianapolis struggled is that the Colts drastically need a receiver to complement new breakout star Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman finished the year as Indy’s Triple Crown wide receiver, leading the team in receptions (88), yards (1082), and touchdowns (6).
The Colts were one of two teams in the NFL who only had one receiver eclipse more than 500 yards receiving— the other was the New York Jets.
Diving into the receiving corps a little more, Jonathan Taylor finished second for Indy in receptions with 40. Zach Pascal, who opened the season on fire, finished second on the team in receiving yards with 384, seemingly falling victim to the offense’s run-first identity.
These statistics simply aren’t acceptable in what’s supposed to be one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses, under Reich.
Granted, numbers do not tell the full story of the Colts’ offensive struggles, but they do tie in functionally with quarterback performance when it comes to creating separation and route running. Upgrading at the receiver position would work wonders for Indy’s offense.
Another factor is pass protection. The Colts’ offensive line may have been the most inconsistent unit for Indianapolis in 2021. Players like Eric Fisher, Julie’n Davenport, and Sam Tevi, were signed in hopes of being considered as replacements for left tackle Anthony Castonzo, but after one-year stints, they are all potentially leaving in free agency.
Colts should continue to build with Carson Wentz
What Carson Wentz can do to upgrade his play for 2022, is build more chemistry with the players the Colts do have and the ones they will gain. Wentz can also work on basic fundamentals like accuracy and timing this offseason and during training camp.
That’s something that didn’t seem to happen last year with the small amount of missed throws and, at times, inconsistent accuracy.
Upon being traded to the Colts last season, Carson spent time out in California at an undisclosed location with receivers Michael Pittman Jr. and Dezmon Patmon.
While the hard work with Pittman paid off throughout the season, Patmon came to light in Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals, where Wentz thrived late and locked in on a 14-yard, game-winning touchdown pass.
As we head into the offseason and begin preparing for the 2022 league year, Carson Wentz is the future. While many outsiders of the Colts organization feel otherwise, the insiders of the organization may not want or feel the need to enter into yet another quarterback carousel.
Even with names like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers floating around the media world, Indianapolis doesn’t seem to have substantial draft capital to trade for these MVP-caliber quarterbacks. Nor does Indy have the weapons on offense that makes the team an enticing destination.
It’s hard to imagine with a team that’s so close to being a contender, there’s not a lot of wiggle room to involve key players in deals that would bring these QBs to Indy.
At the Super Bowl, Reich spoke about what’s in store for the 2022 season and includes Wentz in the plans to take the next step as a team to face glory.
Finally, someone in the front office endorses Wentz in the future plans for the Colts after multiple players, including Jonathan Taylor, shared their thoughts on Wentz.
Cleaning up the few mistakes and polishing off those fundamentals are vital for Wentz returning to the top of his game. Carson Wentz provides the best opportunity for Indy to build around to get to the next level.
Frank Reich already answered the first question in the recovery process, the next one is “Can he get Wentz back on top of the NFL as an elite quarterback like he was in 2017?”