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--- Citazione da: sbiri - Febbraio 10, 2022, 10:39:00 am ---reich dice di non aver mai lavorato tanto sul piano tecnico quanto fatto con lui da febbraio dello scorso anno, ma il problema a me pare proprio mentale
ha fatto vedere alcune belle cose, abbiamo vinto partite importanti in trasferta anche grazie a sue ottime giocate, ma in assoluto trasmette un senso di insicurezza totale, sbaglia passaggi banali, le letture sono spesso assurde, non usa praticamente ma i rb come ricevitori quando la situazione lo richiede (ha reso hines un giocatore totalemente inutile quando invece sarebbe un playmaker di grandissima qualità e lo era stato sia con luck che con rivers, pure con brissett)
quando ha la palla in mano non sai davvero mai cosa ne farà, e non mi viene in mente problema più grave di una squadra che non si fida del proprio qb

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Io non so davvero che pensare. Nel senso che bisognerebbe avere qualche insider vicino a Wentz per capire che cosa sta succedendo a qs ragazzo.

Io non si dirti se sia una questione psicologica perché a me qs ragazzo è sempre sembrato un giocatore solido anche mentalmente. Piuttosto mi domando se gli infortuni patiti a Phila non abbiamo determinato uno suo scadimento fisico e che lui non si fidi più nel fare certe cose.

E' una cosa che è capitata pure a noi con Garoppolo. Il JimmyG visto nel finale di campionato del 2017 (prima della ACL) era un giocatore fisicamente decisamente più brillante di quello che abbiamo apprezzato in seguito. Mi chiedo se la stessa cosa sia avvenuta a Wentz.

Infine ho una curiosità. I Colts 2 anni fa' avevano analizzato con grande interesse James Morgan poi però avevano optato al draft per Eason che si è rivelato un bust.

Ora però lo hanno messo sotto contratto. C' qualche aspettativa su qs ragazzo?


--- Citazione da: joker - Febbraio 11, 2022, 10:46:18 am ---Io non so davvero che pensare. Nel senso che bisognerebbe avere qualche insider vicino a Wentz per capire che cosa sta succedendo a qs ragazzo.

Io non si dirti se sia una questione psicologica perché a me qs ragazzo è sempre sembrato un giocatore solido anche mentalmente. Piuttosto mi domando se gli infortuni patiti a Phila non abbiamo determinato uno suo scadimento fisico e che lui non si fidi più nel fare certe cose.

E' una cosa che è capitata pure a noi con Garoppolo. Il JimmyG visto nel finale di campionato del 2017 (prima della ACL) era un giocatore fisicamente decisamente più brillante di quello che abbiamo apprezzato in seguito. Mi chiedo se la stessa cosa sia avvenuta a Wentz.

Infine ho una curiosità. I Colts 2 anni fa' avevano analizzato con grande interesse James Morgan poi però avevano optato al draft per Eason che si è rivelato un bust.

Ora però lo hanno messo sotto contratto. C' qualche aspettativa su qs ragazzo?

--- Termina citazione ---

non se ne parla quasi per niente di lui, sinceramente non ho altre info

Will Gus Bradley improve the Colts’ defense? He has the pieces in place to do it

One of the calls Gus Bradley took last week came from Philip Rivers.

“Gus, are you considering it?” Rivers inquired.

When Bradley confirmed that yes, he was considering it — the Colts’ vacant defensive coordinator post — Rivers decided to offer up some insight.

“I’m gonna tell you what I think,” he started.

The two go back to San Diego and Los Angeles, where Bradley was the Chargers’ defensive coordinator for Rivers’ final four seasons with the team. From there he quarterbacked the Colts to the playoffs in 2020 before retiring. He remains tight with head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard in Indianapolis, two of the men he spoke highly of in his conversation last week with Bradley.

The chat wasn’t brief. Rivers, it never is with Rivers.

“The training room … the equipment room … the locker room … the people,” Bradley said, recounting what Rivers raved about.

“It was like, it can’t be this good, can it? But you felt it was a really special place.”

After interviewing six candidates, Reich offered Bradley the job Friday, and he accepted, filling the void left by Matt Eberflus’ departure to Chicago. In Bradley, the Colts landed a seasoned defensive mind, a coordinator at three previous stops — Seattle, San Diego/L.A. and Las Vegas — who also owns head-coaching experience from an unsuccessful four-year run with the Jaguars.

Gus Bradley’s defense in Las Vegas was able to pressure the quarterback with defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue. (Kirby Lee / USA Today)
Reich is amped about the hire, impressed by Bradley’s command of his scheme and his willingness to adapt as offenses shift to more vertical. Reich let Eberflus essentially run the show on that side of the ball for the past four seasons, offering input when needed but mostly allowing his coordinator to oversee the unit as he wanted.

The result: Four seasons inside the top 10 in scoring defense, and in 2021, the second-most takeaways in the league.

But it is not a unit without flaws. The Colts’ pass rush faded badly last season, recording just 33 sacks — their fewest since 2017. (The personnel had plenty to do with it.) The Colts were 26th in red zone defense and 29th in fourth-quarter scoring.

The heavy zone scheme that Eberflus preferred often allowed receivers and tight ends a free release from the line of scrimmage, and the good ones knew where the holes in coverage were. Since 2018, the Colts have allowed opposing quarterbacks a completion percentage of 67.9 percent, the highest in the league. They also gave up 60 first downs last year to tight ends, more than any other team.

How does Bradley see the defense he’s inheriting, and what changes might he make? Here’s what stood out from his introductory news conference Wednesday:

1. He’s typically taken over a horrendous unit. Not this time.

Bradley landed in San Diego in 2017 after just 14 wins in four seasons as Jacksonville’s head coach from 2013 to 2016, tapped to run the defense under head coach Anthony Lynn. The Chargers had been abysmal on defense the year before, allowing 26.4 points a game — 29th in the league.

He lifted the unit to third in one season, cutting their points allowed by nine per game. That’s a drastic chunk in today’s NFL. The Chargers finished eighth, 14th and 23rd in his remaining three seasons.

Bradley took over a Raiders defense this past season that had been routinely shredded the year before, finishing 30th in the league in points allowed (29.9 per game). He brought with him a handful of assistants from the Chargers, jump-started their pass rush and helped solidify a unit that gave up 20 points or fewer in four of its final five games, enough to help the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time in five years.

This time, he won’t be taking over a defense reeling from a wretched season and the firing of its coordinator.

He’ll inherit a unit with Pro Bowlers at all three levels — DeForest Buckner on the defensive line, Darius Leonard at linebacker and Kenny Moore in the secondary — and one that’s been constructed with one of his core principles in place: speed. Ballard’s been drafting with that in mind for years.

“It’s surely built on speed, (I could tell) in the conversations,” Bradley said. “Teams now are using the entire width of the field and you have to be able to have speed on the field. I think it feels like a non-negotiable (here).”

He’s right.

2. The basics.

The core tenets of Bradley’s defensive philosophy?

He kept it succinct.

“Fast, physical and (get the) ball out,” he said. “It’s not that complicated.”

Sounds like Eberflus, honestly, and Bradley noted more than once Wednesday how impressed he was with the effort Eberflus’ units displayed. The schemes are similar, too. The Colts have designed their system around a physical front four, quick linebackers (Leonard, Bobby Okereke) who can play sideline-to-sideline, and rangy defensive backs (Moore, Julian Blackmon).

To that, Bradley mentioned his Sweet Six, the areas he’ll dig into once his staff is assembled and he gets the chance to evaluate the roster. From there, he’ll identify the needs he wants the Colts to address. When it’s rolling, here’s what he wants his unit to do:

• Stop the run.

• Eliminate explosive plays (Reich defines explosives as runs of 10-plus yards and passes of 20 or more).

• Affect the quarterback.

• Win on third down.

• Own the red zone.

• It’s all about the ball (force turnovers).

3. The leo spot could be a great thing for Kwity Paye.

On paper, the 4-3 scheme Bradley will implement in Indianapolis won’t be all that different from Eberflus’ rush-and-cover, but there is one wrinkle that could open up opportunities for the Colts’ talented, second-year pass rusher, Kwity Paye. The leo position — a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker spot designed to have more space to get after the quarterback — could be aptly suited to Paye’s build and skills.

“You can never have enough pass rushers,” Bradley said. “I think the leo position opens up the board now to where for the scouting department, they can say, hey, there is a place for this guy.”

The nice thing is, the Colts already have Paye in the building, and they are bullish on his future.

Bradley mentioned both Chris Clemons, who ably filled the role for him in Seattle, and Yannick Ngakoue, who did so in Las Vegas last season to the tune of 10 sacks. The leo can line up with either his hand in the dirt or standing up, shifting him to the weak side of the line, often several feet away from the nose tackle. It gives the rusher more freedom to do what he does best: disrupt the quarterback. Paye, who had all four of his sacks after Week 9 last season, figures to be the most likely candidate.

Kwity Paye finished his rookie season with four sacks and 10 quarterback hits. (Michael Allio / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“Sometimes affecting the quarterback, people just put the stat to see many sacks, but it’s more than that,” Bradley said. “It’s getting him off the spot, it’s can you make the quarterback hitch, where there’s some indecision to where you can allow the rush to get there … you have to be able to affect the quarterback.”

Lacking a consistent edge rusher, the Colts were never in the top 20 in QB pressures under Eberflus, and because of that, gave up 32 passing touchdowns last season, second most in the league. That has to change under Bradley.

4. The Cover 3 has evolved.

 The Legion of Boom secondary that Bradley helped cultivate in Seattle has changed over the years, he said, because offenses have learned how to attack it. The scheme, which is designed around three defensive backs each safeguarding a third of the field, isn’t something the Colts employed much of the past few seasons, but Bradley noted Wednesday that he’s mixed in some two-high safety concepts and man-to-man coverages of late.

Down the stretch last year under Eberflus, the Colts played more man-to-man defense than at any point in his tenure. They were encouraged by the results. In a conference loaded with dynamic young quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert — Bradley said it’s essential to constantly tinker with your scheme, to always think up new ways to counter what the offense wants to do.

“Actually, it helps us if people say, ‘Oh, they’re just running Cover 3,'” he said. “That, in a way, is what we want people to say. So we can kind of break down and know how they’re going to attack us. Then we have some curveballs, some changeups that we look at.”

Plenty of this is based on pre-snap movements and tells the defense can identify.

5. The notion is that Bradley never blitzes. That’s not entirely true.

Because Bradley often keeps three defensive backs deep — the aim being to limit explosive plays — there is more pressure on the front four to get after the quarterback without help. Bradley doesn’t blitz often, he said, but he’s not against it. (The Colts rarely blitzed under Eberflus.)

“It depends, right?” Bradley said. “Each year it’s different. I’m not opposed to it now, if we need to. There are some games where you look in the past that we blitzed 20, 25 times in a game and that’s because we felt like we needed to.

“It’s not a philosophy, it’s more what do we need to do to affect the quarterback and how can we make big plays? Really, you’re defined as a defense on your ability to get the ball and score. I know some players will say in the past, ‘How do you know when we’ve arrived in this defense?’ I think overall when the defense dictates the outcome of the game. If you look at past defenses, the ones that are really talented, really good, they have some say in what the outcome of the game is. That’s what we are trying to do, is build a defense with that mentality.”

The hope is that his rushers can get home — a big if in Indy, especially after a lousy season in the pass rush department — which would allow the linebackers and secondary more chances to make plays.

6. Improvement? It could come quickly.

Though it’s no secret the Colts have some needs to address on defense, the unit is in a much better spot than the offense, which will enter 2022 with major questions at quarterback and in the pass game. Provided Indianapolis bolsters its pass rush in some form during free agency, the defense — under Bradley — could take the next step, and do what the players have talked about for years: become one of the best in the league.

Just look at the leaps the Chargers and Raiders made after Bradley took over.

“You hope once they get it, they kinda take off,” he said. “That’s what happened in the past. Somewhere in the season — I know last year with the Raiders, some of the players said, ‘Hey, Gus, it’s starting to click. It’s starting to come together.'”

When, and if, that happens in Indianapolis remains to be seen. But Bradley knows he’s starting much further along than his previous stops.

ho letto

in queste mille righe speravo anche di trovare qualche info su chi potrebbe imbastire una trade con noi per wentz  :ahahah:

cosa potrebbe volere in cambio quel gm? soldi ed escort?  :mapor:

The Carson Wentz dilemma, Part 1: 10 reasons why the Colts won’t bring him back

The dust has settled, now The Decision inches closer. Colts’ brass has now had a month to let the sting of Jacksonville sink in, to pore over all that went wrong — there was plenty — and weigh what needs to happen next.

Their deadline is March 18.

This is a franchise facing a quarterback dilemma for the third consecutive offseason. This wasn’t the plan, not after sending first- and third-round picks to Philadelphia last spring to acquire Carson Wentz, the QB who arrived with four years and $103 million left on the contract he signed with the Eagles in 2019. Wentz was supposed to offer the Colts the type of stability they’ve craved at the position since the night Andrew Luck retired in August of 2019.

Fifteen games in, he mostly had. The Colts believed they’d found an answer, at least for now.

“We thought we had it until the end of the season,” general manager Chris Ballard admitted later.

That’s because Wentz fell apart with a playoff berth on the line. He was far from the Colts’ only issue in losses to Las Vegas and Jacksonville to close the year, but his play was damning enough to stir immediate discussion inside the Colts’ West 56th Street facility — including one led by owner Jim Irsay — about whether he deserves a second season as the starter. In their year-end press conferences, Ballard and head coach Frank Reich stopped short of pledging Wentz would be under center come 2022, instead vowing to look at every option available.

Truth be told, they don’t have a choice.

Outside of landing a new defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley, that’s what the Colts have been doing the past month: trying to navigate a path forward at the most critical position on the field.

“The hyper-importance of that position, I mean, it’s real,” Ballard said recently. “It’s real.”

He knows. What the Colts do next at QB could end up determining Ballard and Reich’s fate in Indianapolis.

The word I got after the season was there was a 50-50 chance Wentz would be back. And with a little over a month until the deadline, the Colts haven’t yet made their decision. Conversations will heat up in the coming weeks as the quarterback market further clarifies itself and free agency inches closer.

Here’s an extensive window into what the Colts are considering. Today, 10 reasons why they’ll move on from Carson Wentz. Tomorrow, we’ll publish 10 reasons why he’ll be back.

1. The writing’s on the wall: with everything on the line, he played his worst football of the season.

Here’s a question Colts’ decision-makers, starting with Irsay, must ask themselves: Can they trust Carson Wentz if he’s back in 2022?

It’s essential for an organization to believe in its starting quarterback. I’m not sure the Colts can.

It’s hard to think otherwise, especially with the Jacksonville debacle fresh in everyone’s mind, a colossal collapse punctuated by Wentz’s worst outing of the season. His QBR that day was a dismal 4.3, almost 20 points lower than any other start he made in 2021. In fact, another unnerving stat the Colts must consider is why Wentz’s two worst games, at least statistically, came against the three-win Jaguars. (His second-lowest QB, 23.7, came in the Colts’ Week 10 win over Jacksonville.)

IND - QBCarson Wentz
Irsay was irate during and after the Week 18 loss — “livid” according to what I heard — and that’s what prompted the closed-door meeting later that night with Ballard and Reich. Wentz was discussed at length. In the days that followed, both vowed the team would look at every option.

The original thinking on the QB was if all went to plan, Wentz would be in Indianapolis for a handful of years, allowing the Colts patience as they looked for a long-term solution. The assumption was it’d be at least two years; the guaranteed money runs through 2022. But the ending was so devastating in Jacksonville, Wentz’s play so alarming, that it forced the Colts to face the question far sooner than they anticipated.

2. The pressure is on for Reich and Ballard to deliver; are they willing to risk their jobs on Wentz?

Irsay made it clear in that meeting with Ballard and Reich that what he’d just witnessed was wholly unacceptable, that a team with a league-high seven Pro Bowlers missing the postseason was a colossal failure. “An epic shortfall,” the owner would call it a week later, “that stunned and shocked and appalled us all.”

Now, the missive changes, and it’s clear Irsay will enter the 2022 season with far less patience than before. That Ballard and Reich are under contract through the 2026 seasons isn’t prohibitive here; if next season isn’t better, the owner will weigh long and hard what changes need to be made. The reality is this GM and coach tandem has produced all of one playoff win in four years together. That’s far from the standard Irsay has set — he wants wins in January, period. His team has too often fallen short, and the grace period afforded after Luck’s stunning retirement has long passed.

Frank Reich advocated for trading to get Carson Wentz last offseason after coaching him in Philadelphia. (Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images)
While I don’t foresee any rash decisions — “I’m emotional, I’m not impulsive,” Irsay told me in January — the stakes are undeniably higher for 2022. And the decision Ballard and Reich ultimately make at quarterback will have a ripple effect on the entire season. In a year in which they have to win, are they really willing to bet on Wentz after the way last season ended?

That’s a risky proposition.

3. If the Colts move on from Wentz, they’ll have roughly $51 million in salary-cap space to address their needs.

Obviously, moving on from Wentz also creates another issue: The Colts would have to find a new starting quarterback, and that’s the hardest thing to do in this league. Wentz is on the hook for at least $15 million in 2022 no matter what; if he plays, he’ll count for $28 million against the Colts’ salary cap, the highest number on the team. If the team cuts him before March 19, the Colts will save roughly $13 million and have $51 million to work with.

QBs requiring a trade
Aaron Rodgers
1 year, $46.6 million
Russell Wilson
2 years, $77 million
Jimmy Garoppolo
1 year, $26 million
Kirk Cousins
1 year, $45 million
Derek Carr
1 year, $20 million
Matt Ryan
2 years, $51 million
Trading him is another option, provided there is a taker, but Wentz’s dismal play down the stretch didn’t help his value.

Irsay has made it clear to those around him financials won’t be the deciding factor here; in other words, if the Colts have to eat the $15 million dead cap charge to upgrade at quarterback, he’s willing to do it.

With needs at premium positions — left tackle, edge rush and wide receiver, for starters — and an extension looming for Quenton Nelson, the Colts will have to spend some of that money, no matter what they end up doing at quarterback. Cutting Wentz and going with a potentially cheaper option would afford them more flexibility come free agency.

4. The mistakes he made at the end — are they correctable? Or is that who he is?

The three words that stuck out to me most during Ballard’s 66-minute postseason news conference after the season:

Make the layups.

That was a window into the GM’s lengthy conversation with his quarterback after the Week 18 collapse; Ballard was urging Wentz to stop playing hero ball, to instead make the smarter, safer decisions he got away from in the season’s final two games. “Just make the layups,” Ballard urged his QB.

And it wasn’t just an issue at the end; Wentz was guilty of this all year. It’s the conundrum the QB has battled throughout his career, and led to his benching in Philadelphia in 2020. He plays overly aggressive, taking unnecessary risks that can bury his team. Sometimes they pay off. Oftentimes, they don’t.

Wentz largely kept this in check in Indianapolis — an encouraging sign after his dismal last year with the Eagles — but he became unglued in Jacksonville. He missed open receivers in the flat. His footwork was sloppy, his decision-making hesitant, then reckless. He panicked on some snaps, forcing the ball down the field into heavy coverage. Because of the way their quarterback played, especially after halftime, the Colts never had a shot.

Carson Wentz and the Colts came up short in their season finale against the Jaguars, a game in which a win would have sent them to the playoffs. (Julio Aguilar / Getty Images)
“You’ve got to be able to get the ball out of your hands quickly,” Ballard said. “You’ve got to be able to get the ball out and take the easy completion when it comes, and that is a big part of Frank’s offense.”

Asked if Wentz was capable of improving in this area — if a QB who’s played the game one way his entire life can, at the age of 30, learn to play more disciplined — Ballard’s answer seemed more like a shrug of the shoulders, and a telling one at that.

“I think that’s something we’ve got to work through,” the GM said.

Most worrisome is Wentz was a sixth-year quarterback in 2021, still having trouble knowing when to throw it away, still refusing to check it down, still having issues reading a defense. It’s not a coincidence a year after making 63 catches from Philip Rivers, shifty running back Nyheim Hines had just 40 this past season with Wentz. No quarterback is perfect, but the fact that Wentz, in game No. 103 of his career, struggled with the most essential components to quarterbacking is, at the very least, an alarming red flag.

“Still been walking that one out my whole career,” Wentz said before the season, “trying every day to figure out how to toe the line of being aggressive, trying to be a playmaker, trying to make things happen, but being smart.”

“We talk about two sides to the same coin,” Reich said in training camp. “One side is your instincts and your ability, so we want you to use that. But on the other side of the same coin is discipline. We want you to run the offense, stick with the plan, but that would be foolish to just say, ‘We’re going to be so hyper-disciplined we’re not going to allow you to do what you can do.'”

5. There’s a ceiling with Wentz, especially in an AFC that’s loaded with elite quarterbacks.

Another question the Colts must ask themselves is how far can Carson Wentz realistically take them in a crowded AFC that includes Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert?

The playoffs offered damning proof: a prolific passing attack is essential.

The Colts didn’t have one in 2021 for a variety of reasons, and it wasn’t all because of the quarterback. But Wentz didn’t help himself down the stretch.

Are the Colts doomed to mediocrity if they keep him? Could they realistically make a run at the AFC Championship Game with an inconsistent passer prone to making mistakes? What this electric postseason has reinforced, over and over, is passing wins in the NFL in 2022, and quarterbacks who are capable of lifting their team in crucial situations have never been more valuable. Wentz didn’t show he could do that last year.

For Wentz to succeed in Indianapolis, it seems, everything has to be perfect around him. And even then it’s a risky proposition.

6. So-called game managers won’t get you beat. Wentz will.

Reich drilled the safe throw into his quarterback throughout the season, often telling Wentz in meetings, “I want you looking here first.” And the fact that Wentz threw just seven interceptions over 516 passing attempts — third-fewest in the league among starting quarterbacks — is proof that Reich got through to him, at least on some level.

But it’s the reckless decision-making that became, at times, debilitating to the offense and the team, especially in tight games. The left-handed throw against the Titans on Halloween (no, Wentz isn’t absolved from blame because the ensuing safety was a better option than merely an interception), then his awful interception in overtime of the same game. The terrible pick against the Patriots. The regression against the Jaguars. The list goes on.

Wentz found a way to beat the Colts too often last season. The thinking could be a safer quarterback, like a Teddy Bridgewater, wouldn’t make as many crippling mistakes.

Carson Wentz’s ill-advised left-handed pass against the Titans resulted in an interception returned for a touchdown. (Andy Lyons / Getty Images)
7. He led no game-winning drives in 2021.

Part of this wasn’t his fault. Wentz’s left ankle was darn near snapped in half by Aaron Donald late in a Week 2 loss to the Rams in which Wentz had almost single-handedly kept the Colts in it.

Teammates came to respect how tough their quarterback was, especially after he stunned them by starting seven days later in Tennessee.

But Wentz had chances. Plenty of them.

One play from Wentz and the passing game in losses to the Rams, Ravens, Titans, Buccaneers or Raiders would’ve flipped the result, and those losses — Indianapolis was 2-5 in one-score games in 2021 — are a reflection, at least in part, of the quarterback’s shortcomings.

Put simply, Wentz needed to be better in critical moments. He wasn’t.

For the record, Wentz has led 10 game-winning drives in his career, four of which came with the Eagles in the 2019 season.

8. In fact, he was routinely worse after halftime, when most games are decided.

It’s more than just the fact that the Colts, with defenses keying on the best running back in football, mustered just the 26th-best passing attack in the league in 2021. It’s that week after week, late in the season, the Colts were worse in the air after halftime, unable to outthink their opponents and find an answer to the adjustments the defense made.

Six of Wentz’s seven interceptions came after halftime, when less of the offensive game plan is scripted. Eleven of his 32 sacks did, as well, which are not all on the quarterback but hint at the fact that Wentz was prone to holding onto the ball too long. His worst completion percentage (58.3) came in the third quarter, and his completion percentage after halftime (59) was six points lower than it was in the first half (65).

Carson Wentz by quarter, 2021

851...........Pass yards
33.9............Blitz %





And this quote from Ballard, weighing his quarterback’s shortcomings after the season, is revealing.

“I do think accuracy can get better, and you can drill it, drill it, drill it, but usually when you get into the game, you usually revert back,” Ballard said.

In other words, the quarterback is what he is.

9. Keeping Wentz limits what you can do for another year of Darius Leonard, DeForest Buckner and Quenton Nelson’s prime. The Colts cannot keep wasting that.

This roster isn’t without flaw, but it’s too simply good to have one playoff win in four seasons. And it’ll be a shame if, in 2022, the quarterback is again what’s holding back the Colts.

Buckner is entering Year 7, Kenny Moore Year 6, Leonard and Nelson Year 5. Jonathan Taylor will be a third-year back and the reigning rushing champ. With a young nucleus entering its prime, the Colts should be contending for conference championships and a spot in the Super Bowl.

They’re instead stuck on a hamster wheel, spending every offseason trying to solve the same riddle.

This has to change at some point.

Carson Wentz benefitted from Jonathan Taylor leading the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. (Jasen Vinlove / USA Today)
10. What if COVID-19 lingers into the 2022 season? 

The question was asked inside the Colts’ facility in the days after the loss to the Jaguars: How much did the COVID-19 outbreak the team faced late in the season impact its play on the field? While it’s impossible to quantify — and it’s not an excuse the team can lean on — the reality is every player who went on the COVID-19 list, then returned, didn’t play like themselves down the stretch.

Starting with Carson Wentz.

“It ended up getting us at the end,” Ballard said of the virus.

There’s no way to know if the virus will leak into the 2022 season, but the reality that Wentz wasn’t vaccinated — and therefore was more susceptible to miss games — never sat well with Irsay. He wanted his quarterback to do everything within his power to be available.

Wentz, to be fair, made all 17 starts for the Colts this season, fighting through a foot injury in training camp, an ankle injury in Week 2 and a positive COVID-19 test in December.

But after he returned, he played his worst football of the year with the most on the line. He was badly outshined by Derek Carr in Week 17 and Trevor Lawrence in Week 18.

After a season in which he’d spent most of it earning plenty of trust within the franchise — Wentz had proven to be tough, reliable and team-first — the QB’s parting shot was something far different.

Are the Colts really comfortable running it back with him under center? That day in Jacksonville, Wentz might have answered their question for them.


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