According to PFF’s Sam Monson (premium content), the Indianapolis Colts ‘have already let down’ new starting quarterback Carson Wentz by failing to eliminate lingering concerns at left tackle and upgrade their overall wide receiver corps this offseason respectively:
“The Colts took a gamble when they traded for Carson Wentz as the successor to Philip Rivers, and while I understand why they did so, that move alone doesn’t mean they can forget about the offense,” Monson writes. “Quarterback will move the needle more than any other move, but they can’t simply switch off and rely on the Midas touch of Frank Reich to breathe new life into Wentz’s career.”
“The Colts owe it to Wentz to ensure he is the only variable involved in determining whether he can hang at the NFL level or if his decline was always inevitable after a hot start built on sand. Right now, they have neglected the two biggest issues that will impact his ability to rediscover his best play, and not only is that unfair to Wentz, but it’s undermining the all-in gamble they made on him in the first place.”
“The Colts are letting down Wentz as things stand, and the season is just a few months away, leaving few opportunities to right that wrong.”
Let me preface this by saying too, I don’t agree with it.
First, short of signing a 32-year old Trent Williams to a 6-year, $140 million mega-deal, trading a draft haul for Orlando Brown Jr. (when they literally just did that for Wentz), or drafting rookie Christian Darrisaw with the 21st overall pick, what move was realistically out there that instantly solidifies the Colts at starting left tackle from the 2021 opener and onward?
The top left tackle prospects were already gone by the time the Colts selected defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo with the 54th overall pick in Round 2—who Indy may have very well selected ahead of them regardless, even if such tackles had still been on the board.
(They like Dayo that much—and rightfully so.)
Although he’s fairly experienced, former Los Angeles Chargers signee Sam Tevi isn’t an ideal starter at left tackle for Week 1, but if the Colts can just get by for a few games to start the season, the franchise potentially has a 2x Pro Bowler and former #1 overall pick, Eric Fisher, anchoring the blindside for the remainder of 2021.
The same guy that blocked for Kansas City Chiefs’ superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the past few seasons—at a high level and with great results.
It’s not as though the Colts sat on their hands all offseason at left tackle and did nothing.
Fisher comes with some risk regarding his initial availability and whether he’ll fully regain his prior Pro Bowl form—coming off a torn Achilles, but he was still one of the better options actually available to the Colts.
Who else pushed the needle more at left tackle?
Charles Leno Jr.?
Second, yes, the Colts lack an alpha-dog ‘#1 wideout’ that opposing secondaries have to consistently double-team and/or game plan for, but it’s still a unit that collectively, with veteran T.Y. Hilton, emerging second-year wideout Michael Pittman Jr., the always reliable Zach Pascal, and potentially speedster Parris Campbell in the fold (*health permitting) that has some clear talent and ability.
It’s not the sexiest group by any means, but I’d venture to say it’s an upgraded wide receiver room than Wentz had thrown to over his past few seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles previously—especially with the consistent injuries to Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson.
With the Colts now, Wentz will be playing behind one of the best offensive lines in football—especially if Fisher returns in full force, he can lean heavily on a power running game featuring breakout star Jonathan Taylor, and throw to solid all-around receivers.
It’s not as though the Colts solely left him out to dry on an island this offseason.
Could they have given him more?
Maybe a little extra in the wide receiver department, but it’s hard to blame Indianapolis for their logical maneuver regarding Fisher at left tackle—especially given the recent results of the 2021 NFL Draft where edge rusher Kwity Paye was shockingly available at #21 overall.
It’s easy to point fingers in this situation for blame, but okay . . . what were the realistically available solutions otherwise at left tackle and wide receiver for Indianapolis this offseason?
I’d like to hear them.
Let’s get some names.
From my standpoint, the Colts have placed Wentz in a very good position to still succeed during his debut season in Horseshoe Blue.