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INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich is not supposed to be in this position.
Not after playing an integral role in that quarterback Carson Wentz was one of the favorites for the NFL MVP in 2017 when they were with the Philadelphia Eagles. And not after making sure in the past, he can get quarterbacks back on track.
But here stands Reich, knowing that Wentz’s time in Indianapolis could be coming to an end just a year after his arrival at the Colts organization.
And despite all the mistakes Wentz made and games he did not make, it is Reich who will be criticized the most, as the Colts appear to have made a mistake in picking up the quarterback from the Eagles.
“I believe in him,” Reich said last week during the NFL combination. “I stuck my neck out for him. I stuck my neck out for him last year. I was a big part of that decision to get him here, and so I believe he will continue to have great success as a quarterback – that “may be here, it may not be here. That decision is not yet decided, but I still believe in the person and I still believe in the player.”
Colts general manager Chris Ballard said last week that the franchise had not decided Wentz’s fate, which cost the Colts first and third round picks in the deal. But the writing stays on the wall: The Colts would like to move on from Wentz if possible.
Ballard does not blame Reich for Wentz’s matches and why they are in this current predicament.
“We have a really good head coach in Frank who has had to navigate some pretty difficult situations at quarterback position and he has been fantastic,” Ballard said. “I think we are number 11 in victories since he came here [in 2018], and four starting quarterbacks? That’s pretty good, man. I think he’s a really special guy. “
The reality is that the Colts have not been sold at Wentz as their franchise quarterback, otherwise they would have committed to him at the end of the season.
The best way for the Colts to get something of value in return for the quarterback would be to swap him for one of the many quarterback-needing teams. However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that there was “no momentum from the combine that a trade is on the way” for Wentz.
Wentz will receive $ 15 million whether or not he’s on the Colts’ list next season, but the team could save around $ 13 million if it releases him by March 18. His contract runs until 2024, although there is a potential out after 2022.
“I’m usually pretty objective in sitting back and not panicking,” Ballard said. “And we do not want to. We do not want to just make a panic move to make a panic move. You can all kick me in the face 100 times and I promise you … I am who I am. And I have great confidence in myself.”
It’s understandable why Reich, who was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017, stuck his neck out to get Wentz. Reich also helped Andrew Luck and Jacoby Brissett reach career highs in completion rates in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Philip Rivers had the second-best completion rate in his career in 2020.
Wentz threw 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2021. His future with the Colts might not have been in doubt if they had reached the playoffs, but he disappeared at the end of the season.
This is a quarterback-driven league, and the Colts need to find an answer on the position, especially when some of the best in that position play in the AFC, like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow.
“Carson showed glimpses,” Reich said. “And of course I saw them before, but in the end we want to form the kind of team where it’s obviously great if the quarterback can take over the game. We also want a team where the defense can take over.… But if you “To win a championship, you need great quarterback play. That’s the ultimate prize, and that’s what we’re building towards.”
However, it will be difficult to get there with yet another starting quarterback added to the number.
“Whatever ends up happening, whether it’s five [quarterbacks] in five years, or if Carson comes back, you’re playing the hand you’re dealing with, ”Reich said. “You’re just trying to play a winning hand. You get the most out of everything you have, and you know when you play that hand, you believe you want to win that hand. It’s just the way I am. got it.”