For the second time in as many seasons, the Indianapolis Colts are transitioning to a new era at quarterback. Also for the second time in as many seasons, they're doing so with a QB who has an immense familiarity with the team's coaching staff.
General manager Chris Ballard believes that Philip Rivers' preexisting relationship with head coach Frank Reich and former offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni (now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles) helped make his transition to Indianapolis a smooth one last year. He believes the same will be true of new quarterback Carson Wentz, who of course played for Reich when he was the offensive coordinator of the Eagles prior to taking the head job with the Colts.
"When it came to Carson, it was a little like Philip last year," Ballard said, via Colts Wire. "Frank and Nick Sirianni had a really good relationship with Philip. He knew the offense, and it was almost a seamless transition when we brought him in. I almost see the same thing with Carson here over the first month and a half where it's a pretty seamless transition for Carson just because of his relationship with Frank, who also happens to be the play-caller."
Wentz was at his best when Reich was his offensive coordinator in Philly, and his play took a turn for the worse in the years since Reich left for Indy. The Colts are obviously hoping they can tap back into the talent that made Wentz an MVP candidate in 2017 before he tore his ACL. Ballard believes Wentz will be more comfortable with the Colts than he was with the Eagles these past couple years.
"I don't think you can ever minimize how important that is," Ballard said. "The quarterback has to feel comfortable with who's pulling the strings and who's pulling the trigger. And that made the trade for Carson a lot easier because I knew there was a trust level between the two of them, and trust is everything in this league and trust between the quarterback and the play-caller is everything."
Wentz's relationship with former Eagles coach Doug Pederson was reportedly strained throughout last season, and that may have contributed to his declining play. The Colts' bet is that Reich's presence, an improved offensive line, and more confidence will help Wentz rebound and become the player he was before. We'll see if they're right.