Carson Wentz has plenty to prove to the NFL in 2021 after a disastrous 2020 season that resulted in the former Pro Bowl quarterback being exiled from the Philadelphia Eagles -- and finding a new home with the Indianapolis Colts. Wentz, one of the worst quarterbacks in football last season, has been given a fresh start.
Being reunited with Frank Reich is expected to resurrect Wentz's career, but the Colts head coach takes offense in that statement. In Reich's mind, Wentz is still the same quarterback he coached in Philadelphia. Reich believes it will make a big difference for Wentz when he plays for a team that believes in him.
Wentz isn't broken, per Reich. When the Colts head coach hears that, it bothers him.
"I just cringe when I hear stuff like that, not that a player shouldn't be accountable for poor play on the field," Reich said in a conference call at Colts minicamp Monday, per NFL.com. "Carson has to answer to that, and he has answered to it. And until you get out there and prove otherwise, that's what you live with. But I just know that playing the position of quarterback, there are so many factors that go into it.
"We talked about why the poor play last year, I'm just very confident that he has a team around him. It's just I think the culture fit. You guys know how I feel about the Eagles, how highly I feel about that organization. But sometimes in sports, this is one of those transitions I think it's going to end up being good for both organizations, I think it's going to be good for Carson. I think we got to be patient with it. I think it takes a little bit of time, just like it took Philip (Rivers) a minute and Jacoby (Brissett) a minute. But I'm confident that we got the right player."
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Reich defending Wentz is nothing new, considering the lengths the head coach took to bring his former quarterback to Indianapolis. The pair hit it off from when the Eagles selected Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, as the Colts head coach was one of the masterminds in making Wentz the MVP frontrunner in 2017 before Wentz tore his ACL in December of the Eagles' championship season.
Wentz was crucial toward helping the Eagles win their first Super Bowl, guiding Philadelphia to an 11-2 start and the NFC East title. He completed 60.2% of his passes for 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 101.9 passer rating in 13 games of that 2017 season, setting the franchise record for touchdown passes in a season. Despite missing the last three games, Wentz finished second in the league in touchdown passes.
The Colts clearly believed parting ways with a potential 2022 first-round pick was worth it for Wentz, especially if he becomes the franchise quarterback that the Eagles once thought they had. Taking a chance on Wentz is worth the risk.
"I love sticking my neck out for people I believe in," Reich said. "I'm willing to put it on the line for players that you believe in. I believe in this team, I believe in Carson. I feel good about it.
"I do know that his play will reflect the work that he does, the work that our team does, the work that our staff does, all the preparation. I don't mind being the point person on that."