He passed for a measly 185 yards and turned the ball over twice during the ugly Week 18 defeat. His inability to get the job done against the worst team in the NFL ultimately cost the Colts a playoff spot. General manager Chris Ballard immediately hinted at swapping Wentz with someone else during his final press conference.
Former Colts GM Bill Polian still believes in Carson Wentz
Amidst all the Wentz slander, former Colts general manager Bill Polian took a moment to express a different point of view. Despite the frustrating collapse, he still believes Wentz can be the guy who leads Indianapolis back to the postseason.
“His play was up and down,” Polian said. “There were great moments, like the Arizona game, where he made a phenomenal throw, and there were bad moments like the Tennessee game, the Jacksonville game. You could call it inconsistent. If you’re going to win a championship, you have to have consistent quarterbacking. That’s the bottom line. It’s as simple as that. Phillip Rivers provided consistent quarterbacking, and you saw the results.”
“Do I think Carson is capable of it? Yes, I do. He shows you what he can do when he has great days. It means that he can do it, but he’s got to get on with the job of being a consistent quarterback. If he can do that, things are going to work out just fine.”
Are the Colts placing too much blame on Carson Wentz?
Polian knows a thing or two about good quarterback play (he drafted Peyton Manning), and he makes some strong points about Wentz. He showed flashes of greatness during his debut season with the Colts.
Wentz’s 402-yard performance against the Baltimore Ravens and game-winning throw against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day stick out as two instances of him proving he can hang with the best of the best. Few quarterbacks are capable of making the throws Wentz can make when he’s playing at his best.
With that said, the high rate of inconsistency Wentz shows is undoubtedly an issue. He too often misses easy throws.
However, it’s still important to acknowledge Wentz shouldn’t be blamed for everything that went wrong down the stretch. Outside of Michael Pittman Jr., the Colts rostered a lackluster group of wide receivers in 2021. The Colts defense also allowed 26 points during the Week 18 loss in Jacksonville.
Whether Chris Ballard wants to admit it or not, his roster was just as much of a problem as Wentz this past season.
Indy needs to slow down and think about the bigger picture
If Ballard can orchestrate a deal for Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, he should obviously pull the trigger. However, if no clear upgrade at QB is available this offseason, he shouldn’t be rushing to throw Wentz out of the building.
Wentz finished 2021 10th in quarterback rating. That’s harder to replace than Ballard may think.
The Colts need to beef up their WR room. If they do that, and Wentz still struggles, then they can start talking about offloading him for scraps. In the meantime, Bill Polian has a point. There’s still a good chance Wentz can lead the organization to the playoffs in 2022, given the appropriate time to adjust.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.