According to The Athletic’s Zak Keefer, the Indianapolis Colts’ issues with former starting quarterback Carson Wentz went beyond just his play on the football field—as there was a lack of leadership from the team’s most important position, going as far back as last year’s training camp:
“As for the Colts, the issues with Wentz stretched back to before the season began, one source said, and over the course of the year, some grew frustrated at what they deemed a lack of leadership, a resistance to hard coaching and a reckless style of play, which had a role in several close losses this year,” Keefer writes.
Of course, the Colts traded Wentz to the the Washington Commanders on Wednesday, less than a week after general manager Chris Ballard answered to 1075 The Fan’s Dan Dakich’s repeated questions regarding Wentz’s potential lack of leadership as follows:
“No, he’s fine. Carson Wentz is fine,” responded Ballard on Wentz’s leadership—or apparent lack thereof on 1075 The Fan’s ‘The Dan Dakich Show’. “. . . I don’t think it’s a major leadership issue, and I think at the end of the day we’re 9-8, and it’s not good enough.”
Reading between the lines, even if Ballard was being forthright about a lack of major leadership issues, there could’ve still been general leadership issues regarding Wentz.
Enough to clearly second guess whether he should be the guy.
This is a franchise that has benefitted from recent strong quarterback leaders: Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, and Philip Rivers, and it’s quite possible that Wentz didn’t fit the bill of the type of leader the Colts wanted to captain their team going forward.
At any rate, clearly the Colts wanted him gone.
The Colts’ top brass, Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard, refrained from offering Wentz a vote of confidence as their starting quarterback after the team’s shocking late season collapse.
Even head coach Frank Reich, a strong public proponent of Wentz and presumably the driving force in the now ill-fated trade, was unusually quiet in continuing the commitment.
It wasn’t hard to see that the Colts were looking to move on—even before ESPN Chris Mortensen’s report that Wentz would be either traded or released before March 18th.
There was literally no realistic way that after their top leadership showed a lack of confidence in Wentz publicly, that they could have him walk back into that locker room to his teammates, and say they’re serious about competing in 2022. Next season would already be over before it started.
You can’t be half in on anyone, it has to be all in, especially when it comes to the starting quarterback position—and its overall importance. That position has a trickle down effect on the rest of the team and their collective success.
The Colts took a chance on Wentz’s talent, but it may have very well been ‘between the ears’, which ultimately sent their latest starting quarterback packing.