The Indianapolis Colts made a massive addition this offseason when they traded a third round pick in 2021 and a conditional second round pick in 2022 to the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz.
Wentz had his worst season as a pro in 2020, and that was the main reason why he was even available for the Colts. In order to better understand his struggles, I decided to create a series that dove into the intricacies of his mechanics.
The result was much better than I could have ever expected, as I was even able to speak to some of the most renown quarterback trainers and coaches associated with football. In today's finale of the series, I put all the articles into one summary piece for nice and easy access.
Setting the Hallway
For help with the first piece of this series, I reached out to Dub Maddox. Maddox is the QB Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Union High School and has authored many books on quarterback play.
Setting the hallway is essentially about aligning the quarterback's body to a target in order to maintain accuracy and power. If a quarterback isn't properly aligned, the accuracy issues begin to mount much like we saw last season with Wentz.
Here is how Maddox explained it to me in the article:
The hips are where all movement originates from. The idea is that if you are a quarterback and you are scanning the field, you have to have the ability to rotate that front hip. If you put a camera on that front hip, that camera has to be pointed to the route space that you are throwing to. If your back foot is set up properly, then your front hip is set up properly.
I broke down some clips of Wentz in the piece and also described how this is a fixable issue with proper drill-work and repetition. Check out the entire article here:
For help with this next piece, I spoke with quarterback trainer Tony Racioppi, who has worked with the Manning Passing Academy and has helped train many NFL quarterbacks individually (such as Gardner Minshew).
The focus on this piece was quarterback sequencing and how proper movement throughout the body impacts accuracy and power. The proper sequence for a quarterback is strikingly similar to a baseball swing in how the hips push power up through the upper body upon release.
Here is what Racioppi had to say about proper sequencing:
If I’m sequenced up, I should step slightly left and I should close my shoulder at the same time. My hips should rotate/my elbows should get up, and then I should throw the ball.
I went into detail on a few clips from Wentz, broke down his fundamental flaw of opening his hips too early, and discussed some drills to fix this concern. Check out the entire article here:
Learning From Josh Allen
I spoke to Greg Panelli for the next edition in the series. Panelli is the owner of the Panelli Passing Academy and one of the close personal trainers for star quarterback Josh Allen.
This article was all about Josh Allen and how he went from raw college quarterback to MVP candidate in a few short years. My goal was to show that it is possible for a player to overcome mechanical deficiencies in the NFL and even get to an elite level with intense training.
Here is what Panelli had to say about Allen:
One thing that sticks out is that the guy is so competitive. Whether it is playing golf or ping pong or cornhole, the guy is highly competitive. (He's) probably one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met in my life.
I dove into the mechanical improvements that Allen has made in the NFL while also relating them back to Wentz and his own flaws. Check out the rest of the article here:
The next piece in this series was a truly special one, as it focused entirely on the legendary Tom House. House is the founder of 3DQB and has personally worked with plenty of Hall of Fame quarterbacks, most notably Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
While House hasn't personally worked with Wentz, his company has. House was able to give me some great insight on Wentz as a person while also detailing the way that 3DQB handles quarterback development.
Here is what House had to say on Wentz:
(Losing confidence) is something that is not unusual. It happens in baseball, it happens in golf. It breaks your heart when you watch it going on because you can only do so much until they reach out. It usually takes a village to help these kids navigate the waters that they are in now.
I think the fact that Carson has gone from the Eagles to the Colts, and he’s working with Frank (who was his QB Coach and OC with the Eagles) will go a long way. Chris Ballard and the approach that the Colts have in preparing and sustaining performance.. I think it is a great move for everybody.
From what I understand, he is back in the hunt and doing pretty well in all four corners.
I went into detail on the origins of 3DQB and also talked about what House is working on at the moment in this piece. Check out the rest of the article here:
Resetting When Off-Platform
For this next piece, I spoke with Steve Calhoun of Armed and Dangerous Football. Calhoun is a football trainer who has worked with many NFL players, including Keenan Allen, Robert Tonyan, and Jordan Love.
In this piece, I went into detail on off-platform throws and why they can be detrimental to quarterback play. These throws are flashy and fun for video games but simply don't translate in an actual game.
Here is what Calhoun had to say about off-platform throws:
I get into great discussions with my quarterbacks who want to do more off-platform. I say 'let’s go watch some NFL film and get a percentage where they actually threw off-platform or off of one foot.' It’s maybe only seven or eight times a game where quarterbacks truly throw off-platform.
I broke down why this is an issue for Wentz on film and posted some drills that he could do to correct this problem. Check out the rest of the article here:
The final three pieces in this series featured quotes from my conversation with Adam Dedeaux, the CEO of 3DQB. Dedeaux was Wentz's personal quarterback trainer back in 2017 and is also currently working with the veteran.
This article mostly focused on Dedeaux and how he got involved in quarterback training. We also went into detail on his impression of Wentz over the years and what he expects for the quarterback in Indianapolis.
Here is what Dedeaux had to say on Wentz:
(He’s) motivated to change a narrative that has been out there about him and his ability. Mentally, just in a much better headspace. He’s confident in what he’s doing and confident where he is at. He’s in the headspace where he knows there’s no excuses anymore and he is in a place where he can go and succeed now
This article discussed Dedeaux's plan for quarterbacks with 3DQB and gave a key update on how his training with Wentz is going this offseason. Check out the whole piece here:
Supporting Cast Matters
In this next piece, Dedeaux helped me break down how inconsistent Wentz's supporting cast was in 2020, and why that does play a factor into quarterback mechanics.
This is the piece that upset quite a few Eagles fans, but it was something that needed to be mentioned. Wentz had to play with a backup offensive line and young receivers for a majority of the season and that is an element in mechanical decline.
Here is what Dedeaux had to say on this:
Zach Ertz got hurt. Dallas Goedert, an emerging tight end, got hurt. Alshon Jeffrey didn’t play most of the year. Desean Jackson was hurt after week two. Then it’s more rookie wideouts. Andre Dillard gets hurt. Brandon Brooks is hurt.
All these things… He would never make these excuses, and I wouldn’t either, but people need to pay attention to what is going on around the guy before you say he fell apart.
In this article, I broke down the vast number of injuries the Eagles had and also looked at some film examples of Wentz's supporting cast letting him down. Check out the entire piece here:
Maintaining Mechanics Throughout the Season
The final piece of the series focused on how Wentz can maintain his mechanics throughout the grueling NFL season, with help from Dedeaux.
This article focused on why quarterbacks typically decline in mechanical efficiency throughout the year. I looked at three ways that this issue could be mitigated for Wentz and what he needs to do to ascend come playoff time.
Here is what Dedeaux had to say on the topic:
Now, if guys are doing nothing all season long, me and Tom (House) hypothesized that a guy can lose one percent of mechanical efficiency every week. Our biggest thing is we can’t have these guys be on the down-slope come week 16/17/18. We need to be ascending because our best football needs to be played in January and in the playoffs.
In this article, I broke down the importance of rest days in the season while also discussing ways to keep efficiency all year long. Check out the entire piece here:
This was a massive project that taught me so much more on quarterback play than I ever hoped to imagine. There are so many minor details that go into playing this position, and I only scratched the surface with this series.
I hope that through this series, you all got a much better understanding of Carson Wentz and why he struggled a year ago. I also hope that you were able to see that these issues are completely fixable, and that he may not be broken after all.
Wentz was bad in 2020 but there is so much nuance involved here. I hope that you all were able to learn about quarterback play from this series and develop some nuance when it came to Carson Wentz.
Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.