Why Frank Reich thinks Carson Wentz still has it


From the moment the NFL started thinking about the possibility that Carson Wentz could be traded, the Colts were a pretty obvious landing spot.

But Frank Reich isn’t overly concerned with getting Wentz back to the MVP level he played at in 2017.

He’d be happy to get Wentz back to his 2019 version. That’s the version that let Reich know Wentz still has it.

“All you had to do, for me, was turn on the film in 2019, and with four games to go the Eagles needed to win out,” Reich said recently to SI.com’s Albert Breer. “And not only did they need to win out, but in each of those games, as I recall, looking at the film, Carson had to play great in the second half, and play a major role in that team winning those games in the second half.

“Now, they were team wins, they were team efforts, it wasn’t a one-man show. But Carson made the plays that a quarterback needs to make when you need to win four games in a row to make the playoffs. He did that, and that wasn’t 2017. That was 2019. So in my mind, that just confirmed to me this guy still has it.”

While Reich obviously had some familiarity with Wentz, when he learned that a trade was a real possibility, he went back to study the years after he left Philadelphia to take the Colts head coaching job in 2018. And while 2020 was a disaster for Wentz, Reich didn’t have to go back very far before that to see his new quarterback playing at an extremely high level.

As a reminder, in the last quarter of the 2019 season, Wentz was tremendous. He led the Eagles to a 4-0 record, completed over 67% of his passes, threw for just under 300 yards per game and had 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

Then 2020 happened.

Reich’s explanation for what happened in 2020 isn’t much different than what we heard during the season. A big part of the problem was that Went was trying to do too much and put the team on his back. Reich emphasized the importance of Wentz’s getting into a rhythm and letting the game come to him.

“When you have superpowers, quote-unquote, and in ’17, it was like he did have superpowers, he made so many plays, ridiculous plays, you just can’t do that all the time,” Reich said. “And then in ’20, the protection wasn’t as good as it was in ’17, and so it required him to do more with less, because they had so many guys hurt and because of the other dynamics that were there.

“So, yeah, some of it’s him—just get rid of the ball, help your offensive line out, it’s not just the protection isn’t good. The quarterback can help the protection, just getting rid of the ball. But it’s not all Carson’s fault either. It’s everybody’s fault.”

If you’re an Eagles fan, there’s a good chance you’re tired of the Wentz talk. But it isn’t going away. Aside from the obvious intrigue about how the former franchise quarterback will perform in the second act of his career, his performance also has important implications for the Eagles.

That 2022 conditional second-round draft choice becomes a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps or if he plays 70% and the Colts make the playoffs.

The best case scenario for Eagles fans is that Wentz stays on the field but the Colts aren’t very good. That would land the Eagles the best possible pick in return.

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