What kind of QB will Carson Wentz be for the Colts?


Watch Carson Wentz at his best in 2020.

The perfectly placed 34-yard TD to Dallas Goedert in the opener against Washington. The surgical TD pass to Boston Scott in the corner of the end zone against the Giants. The spectacular 42-yard sideline pass to Travis Fulgham against the 49ers. The off-his-wrong-foot 50-yarder to John Hightower in the Ravens game.

These were vintage Carson Wentz plays, the same kind he made during his Pro Bowl season in 2017, the same kind he made in 2018 and 2019.

And there were a lot of them. 

It's just that Wentz was so inconsistent this season before he got benched that it's easy to forget there were plays every week that made all of us think ... "maybe he's back."

They were just always followed by the inevitable fumble, interception or 4th-down misfire down that wiped it away.

The problem wasn't that he couldn't play quarterback anymore. The problem was that he couldn't do it consistently. 

Did you know Wentz had the 9th-most 30-yard completions in the league at the time he was benched?

Did you know had thrown the 6th-most second-half touchdown passes in the league at the time he was benched? Tied with Tom Brady?

Did you know that he had 23 rushing first downs at that point? Fifth-most among quarterbacks?

The point isn't that he was playing well. He wasn't. He was awful. The point is that buried beneath all those mistakes and incompletions and turnovers, there was still something special.

Now add context. Awful wide receivers. Truly awful. Horrible pass protection from an injury-riddled offensive line. Grotesque play-calling by a coach who refused to run the ball. 

It all added up to one of the worst seasons we've ever seen.

We'll see who Carson Wentz really is this year in Indy. 

He's going from a team with shaky receivers to a team with a decent group. A team that never ran the ball to one with one of the league's most explosive young running backs in Salem, N.J.'s Jonathan Taylor. A team that allowed 65 sacks to a team that allowed 21 sacks. 

He's got an ace play-caller in Frank Reich and he'll be playing in a dome in perfect conditions at least eight games a year (nine, including Houston).

It also won't hurt that he's moving to a small market where the scrutiny from fans and media will be far less intense.

I doubt we'll ever see the Carson Wentz of 2017 again. I think the injuries have taken a toll and I don't think he's physically the same guy he was before the ACL.

But I don't see any reason he can't still be an effective quarterback. I don't see any reason he can't be the guy he was in 2018 and 2019, when he threw 48 touchdowns and 14 INTs, had the 9th-highest passer rating in the league and 4th-best interception ratio, completed 66 percent of his passes and was a top-10 QB in this league.

I could be wrong. 

Maybe the way Wentz trended the last six months is who he really is now. Maybe whatever physical changes he's undergone will prevent him from finding the consistency that was so elusive this past season. Even in Indy. Even with Reich. 

Maybe there's something else. Maybe he just doesn't have the drive anymore. Maybe he'll never be an effective NFL quarterback again.

Honestly, I do wonder about all of that.

But I think he'll be OK. Sometimes people just need a fresh start. We saw what it did for Nelson Agholor in Vegas. That wasn't going to happen here. It just wasn't. He had to get away.

Everything's in place for Wentz to succeed with the Colts. He couldn't have asked for a better destination. 

If it doesn't work out there? I'm not sure it's going to work out anywhere.

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