All signs pointing up for Carson Wentz in Indy
Colts team members say former NDSU quarterback's leadership, chemistry and extra work signal something special brewing.
INDIANAPOLIS — As Carson Wentz continues to gel with his Colts teammates, it's safe to say Colts fans should feel better about the trade than they did when the second overall pick in the 2016 draft was first sent to Indianapolis. At the very least, that's how coach Frank Reich feels.
Wentz's willingness to lead by example, the extra work he is putting in to prepare for the season and the chemistry he's developing with the team all point to something special brewing in Indianapolis, according to the team. Wentz has already planned a skill player retreat in July at his vacation home outside of Houston to help the offense mesh even more.
"There's no doubt we feel better about it," Reich recently told Sports Illustrated. "I mean, I felt really good at the start, I'm not going to lie. I felt great at the start of this trade. Did I feel like it was a fair trade? Yeah, I thought given all circumstances going into the trade, I thought it was a fair trade."
Others, however, were not as confident as Reich. Many had questioned Wentz after a lackluster 2020 campaign. They figured that he would never be the same MVP-caliber player they saw in the 2017-18 season. But with a new opportunity in an ideal situation — arguably the best offensive line in the league, reuniting with Reich, the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia his first two seasons — and a young core around the same age as Wentz, the former North Dakota State prodigy is doing everything he can to succeed.
Wentz was still in Indianapolis two weeks after the rest of the Colts' veterans departed for the summer, according to the SI story, and was present for what was a scheduled rookies-only week of OTAs. His throwing coach, Adam Dedeaux, is on his way to the Circle City to help Wentz fine tune his mechanics.
"We have good connections there for where we can go work out and have some fun," Wentz told SI. "It's kind of a central place where it's gonna be plenty hot, so guys can get acclimated for camp."
Most importantly the Colts have made sure Wentz has felt comfortable in his short time in Indy. Colts GM Chris Ballard and Reich are doing everything they can to enhance cohesion in the locker room, while also reminding Wentz they are not looking for him to be Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning. They want to simplify the game and just let Wentz play quarterback.
"We're just counting on Carson continuing to be who he is, continue to get better like all of our players, and we just think and really believe — I believe very strongly in Carson and in this team," Reich said, "and I just think this is the right fit. It's the right fit in so many ways.
"There are many things that you cannot question, and certainly work ethic is one of them. Like a lot of our players, I'm not saying he works harder than them, but he works really, really hard. Very detailed in his work, very committed and very determined. ... Some of it's not uncommon. But it's just the way he's going about it, I think that is very good."
Wentz is enthusiastic about his new team and optimistic about this upcoming season.
"I'd say right when the trade happened, obviously getting a handful of texts from coaches, members of the organization, teammates, right away I was like, It seems like there's a lot of maturity in that locker room, a lot of guys who really get it," Wentz said. "Then, really, when we had our two weeks together at the facility, even though we still had three different locker rooms because of protocols, when you walked in with the organization, when you walked out on that field, when you got in the huddle, when you got with the team and broke it down at the end of practice, when we shot hoops on the field, and played those fun games, there's something special here. I could just tell."