If you’ve followed the Carson Wentz story, you may have noticed a reoccurring theme. With Wentz hitting rock bottom in 2020, many figured it was only a matter of time before he found himself on another team. Amongst the teams in the mix, the Colts were the heavy favorite to land him. The reason why being that Colts head coach Frank Reich was the Eagles Offensive Coordinator from 2016-2017, two of Wentz’s better years. With his trade value at an all-time low, the Colts traded a third and conditional second for the 28-year-old Quarterback.
Philadelphia has agreed to trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that could turn into a first, league sources tell @mortreport and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2021
We all remember how sensational Carson Wentz was in his second year. After hitting the ground running as a rookie, he was the MVP favorite much of the year until his injury. Post winning the Super Bowl, Frank Reich was hired as head coach of the Colts with Josh McDaniels reneging at the last minute. With Reich headed to Indianapolis, the Eagles turned to Mike Groh as their new Offensive Coordinator. In the following years, what didn’t seem like a huge move became more and more glaring.
Since Reich’s departure, the Eagles compiled two 9-7 seasons and went a horrid 6-9-1 last season. The offense never quite looked the same, and neither did Wentz. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until this past season that Frank Reich was suddenly given all the credit for Wentz’s success. Now having acquired Carson Wentz, many believe the Colts are strong Super Bowl contenders. But thanks to Warren Sharp, it’s fair to question if Wentz was truly better under Reich.
New OC, Same Wentz
The idea that Frank Reich made Carson Wentz SO much better simply isn’t true.
Wentz with Reich (age 24 & 25)— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 18, 2021
Wentz since (ages 26, 27 & 28)
In fact, the season following Frank Reich’s absence, Carson Wentz experienced career highs in multiple categories. His completion percentage shot up almost 10 percent, his yards per attempt went up, and his passer rating was a career-high. The caveat being that Wentz didn’t finish the season either year. So comparing Wentz’s numbers to anyone (let alone himself) will always be difficult. But looking at Warren Sharp’s tweet, where exactly was Wentz better?
If anything, it’s fairer to say that 2017 was the outlier year. It’s also fair to claim that when the TEAM was better, Wentz SEEMED better. It’s no secret that since their Super Bowl run, both their running game and offensive line have deteriorated. Every season it seemed as if more than half of the starting offense got hurt. I mean damn, Carson Wentz’s top weapons in 2019 were Miles Sanders and Greg Ward Jr.
So if the stats don’t back up the notion that Wentz was better with Frank Reich, how can the Colts immediately help him?
Where the Colts Will Help Wentz
This past season the Eagles had 14 different offensive line combinations and finished the year ranked 19th by Pro Football Focus. Respectively, the Colts offensive line ranked seventh following the 2020 NFL season. Either this off-season or via the draft, the Colts will need to address Left Tackle with Anthony Castanzo’s retirement. Word on the street is that they’ll move their superstar guard Quenton Nelson to tackle and see how he fairs. No matter what they do, not only is their line considerably younger, it’s just better.
The Eagles averaged exactly five yards a carry during the 2020 regular season. Good enough for third in the entire league. Unfortunately, Doug Pederson was so allergic to running the football they only ranked 24th in attempts. On the flip side, the Colts were in the top half of the league in attempts, total yards, and yards per attempt. Something the 2017 Super Bowl champion Eagles were. So they’ll surely allow Carson Wentz to hand the ball off and not ask so much of him.
Not only were the Colts ranked second against the rush, but they were 10th in points allowed. Meaning that Wentz doesn’t need to take the field with the mentality of carrying his team. The Eagles being in the bottom half of the league in both areas only compounded their already prevalent issues. With the majority of the Colts defense staying intact, they should once again be a problem in the AFC.
In the end…
Between the injuries, the offensive philosophy, and their struggling defense, the 2020 Eagles were a recipe for disaster. But Carson Wentz isn’t absolved from blame. Per EPN analytics, the Eagles offensive line ranked second in “Run Block Win Rate”, and 11th in “Pass Block Win Rate”. So even with their injuries and inconsistencies, they were better than perceived. Wentz’s trust issues with the protection combined with him running himself into sacks in large part ruined their offense.
Heading into the 2021 season, Carson Wentz should have nothing but faith in the Colts. From general manager to head coach, the organization is built to last. But to say that Frank Reich is going to turn Wentz back into MVP form is wishful thinking. It’s also incorrect to say that 2020 Wentz is the version the Colts are getting. You never judge someone by their worst or best year.
If we exclude Wentz’s almost MVP year (what’s perceived as his best), and last season (his worst year), we’re left with these averages.
67% completion, 6.9 yards an attempt, 21 touchdown passes, 9 interceptions, 3,631 passing yards, and he plays 14 games
This is the guy that the Colts are getting. Only time will tell how it all pans out.