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'I Cringe': Frank Reich Pushes Back at 'Bust' Label Colts' QB Carson Wentz Has Garnered

The Colts' head coach is sick and tired of hearing the B-word used on the Carson Wentz subject.

The Indianapolis Colts made a fateful decision to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this offseason. The thrust of the Colts' rationale to land Wentz after two very disappointing seasons in Philly was to reunite him with Frank Reich. 

Reich was Wentz's offensive coordinator his rookie and second year. It was Reich who extracted the best performance of Wentz's career in 2017 when the young signal-caller jumped out to a red-hot start, leading the NFL conversation for MVP — until the injury bug jumped up and bit him with a torn ACL. 

Wentz's career, despite getting paid later by the Eagles, never really recovered. As Wentz licked his wounds, Reich turned his coaching focus to Nick Foles and what transpired was a whirlwind romp from the Wildcard Round of the playoffs to an upset win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. 

Reich rode that World-Champion wave to his first head-coaching gig with the Colts while Wentz rode it to a big payday in Philly... eventually. But things got ugly for Wentz starting in 2019, even though he managed to start all 16 games before the wheels flew off the bus entirely in 2020. 

Some in media have called Wentz a 'bust' and that the Colts are wasting their time with the former No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. Reich doesn't want to hear it. 

"I just cringe when I hear stuff like that, not that a player shouldn't be accountable for poor play on the field," Reich told reporters on Monday as the Colts held offseason workouts. "Carson has to answer to that, and he has answered to it. And until you get out there and prove otherwise, that's what you live with. But I just know that playing the position of quarterback, there are so many factors that go into it."

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Indeed, Reich would know. He was a prolific college quarterback at the University of Houston and went on to a decent career as an NFL backup. 

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Reich understands all the nuances that go into playing quarterback. But what might ultimately make the biggest difference for a Wentz resurrection, if indeed that is what the Football Fates have in store, is the benefit of being transplanted to new environs. 

Reich believes the Colts have the talent and the locker room culture to nurture Wentz and revitalize his career to cash in on the enormous athletic gifts he possessed as a prospect coming out of North Dakota State in 2016. 

"We talked about why the poor play last year, I'm just very confident that he has a team around him. It's just I think the culture fit," Reich said. "You guys know how I feel about the Eagles, how highly I feel about that organization. But sometimes in sports, this is one of those transitions I think it's going to end up being good for both organizations, I think it's going to be good for Carson. I think we got to be patient with it. I think it takes a little bit of time, just like it took Philip (Rivers) a minute and Jacoby (Brissett) a minute. But I'm confident that we got the right player."

Time will tell. Reich will have to begin by repairing Wentz's ego and self-confidence. From there, it's about coaching out the mistakes and turnovers and helping Wentz get back to operating the position with his subconscious mind. 

You can tell when a QB is thinking too much on the field and conversely, you can tell when he's in the zone, operating as if it were second nature, and just reacting and having fun. Reich is very confident he can get Wentz back to being that guy. 

Time will tell. Not all national outlets are predicting the Colts bust on Wentz. ESPN's Mike Clay projects Wentz to have a very productive first year in Indianapolis. For now, the best posture to take relative to Wentz is to trust Reich's coaching acumen and let the chips fall. 


Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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