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Carson Wentz’s future in Indianapolis appears bleak after the Colts’ collapse in Week 18.
TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida was officially where the Colts’ playoff aspirations died, as the Jaguars (3-14) defeated the Colts (9-8) 26-11 Sunday. Much of the blame has been placed on Wentz’s shoulders, who threw for just 185 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 17-of-29 passing.
Head coach Frank Reich addressed Wentz’s future Monday, non-committal on who will be quarterbacking in 2022.
“We’ll take it piece by piece. We’ll evaluate (Wentz’s) play. We’ll evaluate how we’re coaching him, how I’m coaching him, with each position in the pass game,” Reich said, via the Indianapolis Star. “Take it apart piece by piece, and then put it back together.”
Wentz, 29, was acquired in the offseason from the Eagles for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. That latter is now a first-round pick, as Wentz played 75% or more of the snaps this season. Wentz finished the season throwing for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 62.4% passing.
Much of the trade was founded upon the relationship between Wentz and Reich. The two worked together in Philadelphia, with Wentz as the then MVP caliber quarterback and Reich as the up and coming offensive coordinator. Wentz had a career season in 2017 with Reich, before tearing his ACL late in the season.
Reich took the job in Indianapolis that offseason and Wentz’s play tailed off considerably. A reunion was meant to recreate the success of 2017, but only brought more questions about Wentz’s ability to win games. The 2016 second-overall pick is now 44-40-1 as a starter in his career. Wentz has three years and $81 million remaining on his contract, although only $15 million is guaranteed.
Reich talked about the dynamic of the relationship and how different it was this season, compared to the two years in Philadelphia (2016-17).
“I have an affinity for a lot of our players,” Reich said. “I do feel a deep connection with Carson, and I do check myself on that kind of stuff all the time, with Chris [Ballard]. … He’s not going to sugarcoat anything. And I can say honestly, I’ve probably been more critical and coached him harder this year than I did in the first two years I was with him in Philadelphia.”
With no first-round pick in 2022 and a weaker quarterback class coming out, it doesn’t appear a replacement lies in the draft. Notable quarterbacks set to be free agents include the Saints’ Jameis Winston, the Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater and the Bears’ Andy Dalton.
Whoever’s under center, Reich wants the Colts to play winning football, something they didn’t do enough of in 2021.
“We loved the team we had this year, we knew everyone we brought in this year, we expected to play winning football,” Reich said. “Next year’s roster will be next year’s roster. I don’t want to open it up about one player and then start talking about all of them.”
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