Colts Owner Jim Irsay Subtly Reveals Stunning Details About Disastrous Carson Wentz Era

There’s always been something frustrating about Carson Wentz. He has all the talent in the world to become one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, but he can’t put it all together.

The Indianapolis Colts gave Wentz a fresh start in 2021. After a tumultuous breakup with the Philadelphia Eagles the season before, the quarterback got to hit the reset button.

But nothing changed.

While Wentz didn’t have as bad a year as he did with the Eagles in 2020, he still couldn’t take the next step as a quarterback. His refusal to do the small things within an offense resulted in the Colts blowing their season in the final two weeks. Despite needing just one win, they lost two consecutive games, one to the worst team in football in the Jacksonville Jaguars, and missed the playoffs.

Indianapolis has since moved on from Wentz, but Colts owner Jim Irsay recently discussed the failed relationship. He didn’t point to specific issues with his team’s former gunslinger, but his comments were still telling.

Carson Wentz failed with the Colts

Carson Wentz’s numbers looked OK for the Colts in 2021 (3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns, and seven interceptions). So, what went wrong? Why does everyone have an issue with the way he played?

Wentz couldn’t step up for his team when it needed him most. In his last five games of the season, he threw for 154.6 yards per game, six total touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also had some contests in which he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, completing just 58.33% of his passes in the final four games.

The Colts needed Wentz to play just average to clinch a playoff spot, but the offense couldn’t click with him behind center. He continued playing his reckless style, which resulted in injuries in the past. The former Pro Bowler also almost always refused to throw the check-down pass.

Those factors, combined with the missed playoff appearance, seemed to play a role in Indianapolis trading Wentz. It sent him to the Washington Commanders earlier this month.

Jim Irsay discussed the disastrous season

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and former quarterback Carson Wentz.
(L-R) Jim Irsay and Carson Wentz. | Justin Casterline/Getty Images; Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Jim Irsay is one of the more involved NFL owners. Maybe, that’s a good thing. Perhaps it’s bad. But he strives for excellence, and he knew Carson Wentz kept the Colts from reaching that mark.

According to Zak Keefer of The Athletic, Irsay had to make sure his team moved on.

“I wish Carson well, I think he has a chance to go into a different environment and play great in Washington,” Irsay said to The Athletic. “It’s just, for us, it was something we had to move away from as a franchise. It was very obvious.”

After Indy’s embarrassing loss to the Jaguars, Irsay spoke to veteran players on his team. What he learned “was very concerning.”

“Carson is not the scapegoat,” Irsay said, per The Athletic. “It simply didn’t work out for us and what we are trying to accomplish. I mean, he’s a good man, a good father and a guy who put a lot of effort into the year and worked really hard and wanted to have success. It just didn’t work out. And sometimes you feel like you have to move on because you can’t always persuade people to do things differently if they don’t want to do them differently.”

Despite the Colts’ 2021 failures, Irsay said he doesn’t regret last offseason’s trade for Wentz.

“I mean, you try to make the best decision you can from the position you were in, and it’s a tough league and it’s tough being right,” he said, per The Athletic. “And you know, I think the worst thing you can do is have a mistake and try to keep living with it.”

The Colts can now move on with Matt Ryan

Irsay’s most alarming comment was, “you can’t always persuade people to do things differently if they don’t want to do them differently.”

What wouldn’t Wentz change? Did he just refuse to play a different style of football, no matter how much it risked his health and, in turn, his team’s season? Did he not want to throw the easy pass?

It’s hard to tell.

But the Colts have since moved on at quarterback. After trading Wentz to the Commanders, they acquired 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons. He will be 37 when the season starts, but he can, if anything, run the offense more efficiently than Wentz.

There’s reason to be excited in Indy.

“Time will tell, but I really feel good about things,” Irsay said while discussing the days between Wentz’s trade to the Commanders and the deal that brought Ryan to the Colts, per The Athletic. “Extremely grateful to the football gods, so to speak, on where we were compared to where we are, you know, and I don’t underestimate that. You’re always greedy looking to complete the puzzle perfectly.”

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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