NFL.com Senior Analyst Gil Brandt ranked his top 10 players who are ‘poised to have biggest impact’ for the 2021 season. Colts’ QB Carson Wentz comes in at No. 3 on Brandt’s list.
Brandt, in part, writes, “The Colts haven’t fielded the same starting quarterback in consecutive Week 1s since Andrew Luck did it in 2015 and ‘16. Since then, the task has passed from Luck to Scott Tolzien, then back to Luck, then to Jacoby Brissett, then to Philip Rivers. The Colts are hoping Wentz can can stop the merry-go-round under center — which is really the only major question mark remaining on one of the NFL’s most complete teams — by proving he is still a top-tier quarterback after a disastrous 2020 with the Eagles.”
It’s fair to say a majority of NFL fans and analysts believe that Wentz, given the pieces around him and being reunited with his former play-caller Frank Reich, expect the former No. 2 overall pick to show some sort of resemblance to his 2017, MVP-caliber self.
While many have sang a similar tune of ‘Wentz needs to return to being an MVP-like player for the Colts to have success,’ I’d strongly disagree. In 2018, Wentz, coming off his ACL tear, threw for 3,074 yards and had a TD:INT ratio of 21:7. He then followed that by throwing for 4,039 passing yards with a TD:INT ratio of 27:7 in 2019.
Did I also mention that, during his 2019 season, a majority of Wentz’s starting wide receivers and offensive lineman — including Alshon Jeffery, Jason Peters and DeSean Jackson — had missed a chunk of the season due to lingering injuries. Yet Wentz, who was given what many would consider to be a very strenuous task, managed to, with backup wide receivers and offensive lineman, lead the Eagles to a division.
For comparison, Philip Rivers, at 38-years-old, threw for 4,169 yards and had a TD:INT ratio of 24:11. The Colts’ offensive line is one of the league’s best. The running game, led by second-year superstar Jonathan Taylor, is also top-tier. And the defense, led by two All-Pros in DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard, is looking to take that next step this season, too.
The Colts won’t need Wentz to be ‘2017-Wentz,’ and he won’t be asked to throw the ball 40-50 times a game like he was during his last season with the Eagles. Indianapolis, in my mind, is a 12 to 13-win football team if Wentz plays similarly to how he did in 2018 or 2019.
Wentz has got the pieces to help alleviate some of the pressure he’ll likely face this season. The situation he’s currently in from a cultural and roster standpoint doesn’t get much better, either. This kind of opportunity, to put it bluntly, is one which many quarterbacks who are coming off abysmal seasons don’t typically get.
Now, with the NFL world watching, the outcome of Wentz’s 2021 season will be entirely up to him.