Frank Reich requested the Colts to commerce for Carson Wentz, now the coach should ship

INDIANAPOLIS — The sting of shedding his beginning quarterback and good friend to retirement was nonetheless there for Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich again in January. However as a lot as he needed to reminisce about teaching Philip Rivers, Reich needed to shift his focus to discovering his fourth totally different beginning quarterback in as a few years.

He had an concept, one he wasn’t positive the Colts would be capable to pull off.

It was perhaps a day, two on the most, after Rivers broke the emotional information to Reich that the coach approached normal supervisor Chris Ballard.

“I stated to him, ‘I don’t know what Philadelphia’s plans are with Carson (Wentz), however do you suppose we will see if they’ll commerce him?’” Reich recalled. “We knew one (quarterback) possibility was the draft and free company. However I additionally knew there was a novel dynamic in Philadelphia. I felt like we needed to make that connection and discover out if it was attainable.”

This was no totally different from a yr in the past when Reich talked about to Ballard and proprietor Jim Irsay he believed the group ought to attempt to signal Rivers after the quarterback and the Chargers parted after 16 years.

Sure, Reich has an in depth relationship with Wentz the identical approach he does with Rivers.

However pursuing Wentz was totally different.

It was a danger for the Colts and, extra importantly, Reich was placing his identify on the road by telling his bosses he believed Wentz was the proper particular person to cease the fixed change at quarterback for the group.

The coach needed the Colts to surrender draft picks for a quarterback who was benched after throwing 15 interceptions and was sacked 50 occasions in 12 video games, whereas some questioned the place Wentz was mentally. The Colts gave up a third-round decide on this yr’s draft and a conditional second-round decide within the 2022 draft for Wentz.

Reich believes in himself as a coach the identical approach he believes within the beginning quarterback getting the job accomplished. He realized that strategy from his father, who was a highschool soccer coach for a few years. He at all times emphasised “nobody participant is larger than the workforce and everyone is vital.”

Make no mistake: If touchdown Wentz doesn’t work, the stress might be there on Reich as a result of the times of getting a longtime quarterback (Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck) will fall additional into the space, as will Irsay’s continued quest to win a number of Tremendous Bowls.

“Whenever you’re within the function of head coach, you’re taking numerous duty for it,” Reich stated. “However that’s what it’s a must to do. It’s important to be prepared to stay your neck out and have some conviction about issues. You don’t should make each choice a make-or-break choice, however there are particular defining moments or large selections. That is a type of large selections, however I feel as a corporation we dealt with it the proper approach.”

Reich didn’t depend on his historical past with Wentz — two years as his offensive coordinator with the Eagles in 2016-17 — to validate the reunion. He watched each throw the quarterback made in the course of the 2020 season to evaluate Wentz. Reich noticed his justifiable share of poor throws and poor reads from Wentz whereas breaking down the movie.

No quarterback with at the very least 100 move makes an attempt within the 2019 and 2020 seasons noticed a much bigger QBR drop-off than Wentz, who went from a 62.8 QBR in 2019 to 49.6 in 2020, based on ESPN Stats & Information. As well as, he has performed all 16 video games within the common season solely twice in his profession.

Reich was Wentz’s coordinator in 2017 when the quarterback threw for an Eagles franchise-record 33 touchdowns and his 78.5 whole QBR was 18.7 factors increased than the remainder of his profession.

“It’s getting again on monitor, getting again in rhythm, simply doing his job as a quarterback,” Reich stated. “Do the little issues proper. Don’t be a hero on each play. Don’t should attempt to make the spectacular performs each play. He has spectacular in his thoughts and his physique that it’s naturally going to occur if he performs his sport and does the little issues proper. That stuff will come out.

“I believed 2020 was an outlier yr. It was not a great yr for the workforce or for him and I feel there have been numerous causes for that. A part of it was him, a part of it was different dynamics. I really feel like we will get him again on monitor.”

Once more, that’s Reich.

Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady and quarterback coach Scott Milanovich would be the ones working with Wentz probably the most, however Reich might be closely concerned with the quarterback and sport planning as a result of he calls performs and has probably the most familiarity with Wentz.

“Whenever you turn into a head coach, you don’t wish to lose contact with what helped you get to the place that you simply’re at,” Reich stated. “And a part of what’s helped me to get to this place is no matter degree quarterback teaching and offensive coordinator abilities that I can carry to the equation, I wish to proceed to carry that. Now our strategy to that may be a very collaborative strategy as a workers. I consider in that strategy. To make that work, not just for Carson, however our complete workforce, it’s all of us doing it collectively.”

And once more, that is Reich.

That strategy labored in his first season with Luck in 2018 when no one knew the place Luck was bodily or mentally after he missed the 2017 season with a shoulder harm. Luck led the Colts to the playoffs and gained the NFL Comeback Participant of the Yr.

It didn’t work with Jacoby Brissett in 2019, because the Colts went from beginning the season 5-2 and ending 7-9 with the quarterback struggling down the stretch.

It labored with Rivers final season, because the quarterback reduce his interceptions down by 9 whereas main the Colts to the playoffs.

That’s why Irsay, who has been across the NFL for 30-plus years, believes Reich is the proper particular person for Wentz to settle issues down at quarterback for the Colts.

“The kind of expertise he has each as a participant and as a coach, what sort of man he’s, his intelligence, all of the issues that fairly frankly make him one of many high one or two or three, perhaps the very best within the league at creating and grooming quarterbacks,” Irsay stated. “At this level, I can’t consider anybody higher. … He actually will get an understanding — very reasonable on saying, ‘How can I make this participant be the very best Carson Wentz Carson will be, interval?’

“However on this league, we all know we’re quarterback-driven and when you will have a coach like him who actually provides a quarterback the very best likelihood to be nice on this league, that’s actually particular and I feel that’s one of many attributes that I really feel makes us actual Tremendous Bowl contenders is his expertise to have the ability to elevate a quarterback’s play to its very highest of ranges.”

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