Carson Wentz wasn’t the savior the Indianapolis Colts hoped he could be. The former Philadelphia Eagle and one-time MVP candidate faded badly down the stretch of his first season in Indiana.
Indianapolis fell out of the AFC South title race and then, behind an 0-2 finish that included a loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, out of the playoffs entirely. It was a stunning end to a season that saw the Colts overcome a 1-4 start and prop themselves up as a contender by virtue of wins over the Patriots, Bills, 49ers, and Cardinals.
The black hole dragging the team out of orbit was its newly acquired quarterback. Wentz averaged just 153 passing yards per game while completing only 58 percent of his passes over the final four weeks of 2021.
On Monday, head coach Frank Reich called out the passing attack as “definitely below our standards.” On Thursday general manager Chris Ballard, the man responsible for drafting multiple All-Pros and speeding up his team’s post-Andrew Luck rebuild, made it even clearer: all options are being considered when it comes to the team’s quarterback for 2022.
“I won’t make a comment on who’s going to be here next year and who’s not going to be here next year. That’s not fair. It’s not fair to any player,” said Ballard in his first offseason press conference. “I thought Carson did some good things. And there’s a lot of things that he needs to do better. You know, our passing game has to be better.”
“You’ve got to get stability at the quarterback position. You have to. We have to have stability there. And that position has to play up to his potential to help the team win.
“And don’t get me wrong here, don’t sit here — I ain’t blaming all this on Carson. Alright? I’m not. Because everybody else has gotta do their jobs too. But the hyper-importance of that position, I mean, it’s real. It’s real. And you got to get consistency there. And the years we’ve gotten it, we’ve been pretty good and we thought we had it until the end of the season. So it’s something we gotta continue to work through.”
Ballard, the 2018 Pro Football Writers Association Executive of the Year, added “we’ll look at everything” when it comes to his quarterback position moving forward.
It wasn’t a total indictment of Wentz, but it was an honest assessment of a player who is on the team’s books for more than $28 million — including $15 million guaranteed — next fall. The dividing line between failure and success stopped at the quarterback’s feet. The Colts were 9-1 when Jonathan Taylor ran for at least 100 yards and 0-7 when he did not. Here’s how Wentz performed on days where he could rely on his run game vs. those when he could not:
When Taylor was operating at a high level, Wentz played like Russell Wilson. When he wasn’t, Wentz was reduced to Daniel Jones.
Ballard has a big problem going forward. Replacing Wentz with …read more
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