INDIANAPOLIS – The trade for Carson Wentz was still several weeks away from happening, but Jim Irsay was dropping a crumb or two.
Irsay wanted a ‘veteran vision’ at quarterback for a team he believes is Super Bowl ready, right now.
Along with that hope, Irsay was fond of what Philip Rivers brought the Colts.
In a year unlike any other in the NFL, the familiarity Rivers had with Frank Reich and this offensive system certainly aided the quarterback’s ability to excel in a new home.
That thought was not lost on the Owner.
“There’s no question that if there is an individual or individuals out there that can come in with experience…that would be ideal,” Irsay said when talking about life at QB post-Rivers.
“I think that’s what helped so much this year with Philip Rivers is, boy you have this guy coming in and he has no learning curve. He is like a coach on the field. It was just really positive for the type of team we had because we had a lot of excellent pieces in place and he helped get us there quicker. That would be ideal.”
While Wentz doesn’t have the vast experience like Rivers, he has played his entire NFL career in a system that is virtually the same to what he’ll walk into with the Colts.
Saying that the COVID impact to last offseason, and likely this offseason, too, was a major player in why the Colts made the moves for Rivers and Wentz would be unfair.
But it was a bonus.
Indirectly, Reich knows this is something at play with Wentz.
“It just helped accelerate the learning process of the offense, of the relationship that has to be built,” Reich said last week about the relationship and familiarity he already had with Rivers.
“We’ve said this a lot of times, there is a personal aspect to coaching a player, it’s not just in a vacuum. There is a personal element to it. Anytime there is a personal connection with a player and there is a familiarity with the offense and the terminology and what you are trying to accomplish and the vision for what you’re trying to do, it can help accelerate it. I think Philip showed that very clearly. For him to be able to come in, play the way he did and to lead the offense and the team the way he did, I think it helped a ton.”
With four years remaining on his rather affordable contract—as long as the play gets back to what we saw in 2018 and 2019—the 28-year-old Wentz does offer a chance for the Colts to benefit from this move for the foreseeable future.
There are definitely questions about Wentz’s level of play moving forward, but if the Colts can cash in on some continuity at quarterback, it would be massive for the franchise.
“That has always been the goal, to have a longer-term answer at that position that you can build around and grow,” Reich says. “As you grow as an offense because the quarterback is so central in the offense going through him, being able to grow year-by-year is an important aspect of that. So that is certainly in our vision and plans at that position.”