It feels like only yesterday that the Eagles were in a chaotic whirlwind, trying desperately to escape the storm that they had brought upon themselves. By some miracle, they were able to trade Carson Wentz to the Colts, recoup a first-round pick, and that seemed to be the end of it…for the Eagles at least.
The Eagles rode off into the sunset with a rookie Head Coach and a young quarterback with all the upside in the world, knowing that even though their salary cap took a big hit, it’s a substantially smaller one than the stress that would’ve engulfed the franchise had Wentz stayed. He was someone elses problem now.
And a problem he ultimately was. Eagles fans watched from afar, doing their best ‘Howie with binoculars’ impression, as if they were checking in on an old flame to make sure they’re getting through life okay. But Wentz wasn’t. The Colts were clunky to start the season and it didn’t take long for the habits of old to haunt the once-esteemed quarterback. The YOLO throws, the idiotic game-costing decisions instead of taking a sack, the inability to take what the defense gives him, all reared their ugly heads and there was only so much masking that a historical season from Jonathan Taylor could mask.
The Colts seemed to rebound as the season rolled on, going 8-2 in games from October to January. But when the team needed him most, in the two most important games of the season, with the division on the line, Wentz did what Wentz has always done – put himself in a position where he was either the ultimate hero, or a despised villain.
On the surface, a 27-7 TD-INT ratio doesn’t seem that bad. 62.4% of passes completed is pretty good, and he ranked 9th in QBR. But what the Colts rapidly learned was that even when reunited with two pivotal figures in his early development, Wentz refused to shake his old habits and ultimately chained the franchise as he once did in Philadelphia.
Could the Colts go into next year with Wentz at QB and compete? Sure. But defenses know that all they have to do is put pressure on the NDSU product, and just like if you continue to shake a bottle of soda, it’s eventually going to explode into a horrible mess. The Colts are way too close to being an AFC superpower to let a quarterback hold them down.
Had Indy not given up a first and a third round pick for him, this might not be the case. But the Colts were robbed. They watched on as Matthew Stafford waltzed into Los Angeles and helped elevate them to a Super Bowl, knowing fully well that they decided to go all-in on Wentz instead. The rest of Indy’s team is on the verge of greatness, and it’s being held back by a quarterback who Chris Ballard decided to risk it all for. If Indy is having buyers remorse, they have to get out quickly if they’re to avoid watching a potential Super Bowl window slip away.
Not only that, but then there’s the history in Indianpolis. Look at the quarterbacks who came before him. Phillip Rivers, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning. All three players are held in the highest regard and elevated their teams to a point where nobody wanted to see the team, or even the league, move on without them. That’s a lot of pressure for a quarterback like Carson Wentz, who was on a redemption tour.
The most reassuring part of all of this, for Eagles fans, is that this had nothing to do with the character of Wentz. It’s not about his fit in Indianapolis as a person. It has nothing to do with anonymous sources or reports of practice habits. It all comes down to Carson Wentz – the quarterback.
Did he put enough effort in during the week? Nobody knows. Are any of the reports that came out of Philadelphia now validated? Potentially.
While it’s easy to defend Wentz for much of what happened in the City of Brotherly Love, understanding he was blindsided, it’s also hard not to see how he didn’t become his own worst enemy in the process and was the main benefactor behind any blindside tackle felt on the field.
The undoing of Carson Wentz falls on the shoulders of one man and one man only. A man who refused to change his ways and whose tunnel-vision eventually hit a dead-end. The Colts front office watched on helplessly as their team suffered what may be one of the most shocking collapses in recent memory and understandably want to protect the trajectory the team is currently on. If that means no Carson Wentz, so be it.
Photo by Icon Sportswire