Last season, we got to watch Carson Wentz as an Indianapolis Colt, and it was an experience that I think all fans learned from. As Colts fans, we have had the privilege to watch some tremendous Quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Andrew Luck. I don’t think that Colts fans appreciated that we saw such great QB play for a long time and the factors that go into great QB play. Fans were enamored with Carson Wentz’s arm talent, athleticism, and ability to make off-schedule plays. Many fans forgot what truly makes a great Quarterback, and I hope to share why I think the Carson Wentz trade ultimately didn’t work.
1. The importance of Mentality
Often last season, when Carson Wentz was at his best, you could see it in the way he acted, in his approach. He was steady when he was at his best. However, when Carson was at his worst, we could see him become overconfident in his abilities and make a play that he shouldn’t make or lose confidence and start to second guess himself. This would lead to him taking a terrible sack or throwing the ball where he shouldn’t. He was erratic, and you could see it against New England, where he lost his cool and went at players on the other team for the way they were hitting him. As a quarterback, even if the other team is taking cheap shots against you and your team, you have to be bigger than that and not let that phase you. We saw his overconfidence against Tennesee at home in overtime with 5 minutes to go in the game when he threw it to a triple-covered Michael Pittman Jr. when he had Mo Alie Cox and Jonathan Taylor wide open right in front of him with plenty of green grass in front of them. His lack of confidence showed against Jacksonville when, with about 7 minutes to go in the 3rd Quarter with the playoffs on the line, he pump-faked to a covered Mo Alie-Cox and threw it to him anyway, resulting in an interception. He had Jonathan Taylor wide open in the flat if he would’ve thrown it to him and would’ve got a net gain on the play instead of giving it back to Jacksonville. The Carson Wentz experience could be described as a rollercoaster, and his erratic approach would show late in games when it mattered most.
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2. The importance of Mental Processing
Getting the ball where it needs to go is the most important thing about the Quarterback position and is what gets you paid. While great arm talent, athleticism, and the ability to make off-script plays can help you get the ball where it needs to go, there is nothing more important than UNDERSTANDING where the ball needs to go. Carson Wentz really struggled in that area last year with the Indianapolis Colts. When you hear Chris Ballard talk about making the layups, this is what he was talking about. Taking what the defense gives you and just putting the ball where it needs to go instead of making a miraculous throw that just doesn’t need to be made. In basketball, what happens when a player has a bad shot selection? Sometimes, they can’t see a good shot because they don’t know what one is, or they just chuck shots, right? That was a big problem with Carson Wentz because he couldn’t take good shots or see that they were even there, so he would try to make something out of nothing and make bad decisions with the Football.
3. The importance of good mechanics (the fundamentals)
Carson Wentz has had struggles mechanically for most of his career, which has also led to his erratic play as a Quarterback. His inconsistencies with his mechanics led to volatility and often, inaccuracy, and he would not get the ball where he wanted it to go accurately. When Carson Wentz would miss, he missed high or overthrow his receiver. Sometimes he would underthrow the ball, where you’d see this on his deep shots. For example, against the Ravens on the 42-yard touchdown throw to Michael Pittman Jr. Carson Wentz underthrew the ball so bad, that Michael Pittman was interfered with, and scored a touchdown on the same play somehow. Going back to the layups reference by Chris Ballard, not only would he not make the layups, he would be off-target because of the fundamentals. If Carson Wentz were a basketball player, he would be a shot chucker with bad mechanics, like Russell Westbrook.
WATCH YA HEAD!!
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— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 12, 2021
I think what we can glean from this is it is easy to get excited about a Quarterback’s physical traits without understanding if that Quarterback will be able to maximize those traits to the fullest. The good quarterbacks are good at what is boring. This is where new Quarterback Matt Ryan will be really good, at making the boring look good. The Colts have a Quarterback now who can read a defense, make the correct pre-snap adjustments, have sound mechanics (teach-tape worthy mechanics), and be a steady leader whose presence is felt by his teammates and the fans watching at home. Making the boring look good may not sell as many tickets or draw the attention of the national media, but it wins football games, and that is what matters. I hope Colts fans will appreciate Matt Ryan while they have him because he will be excellent for the Colts.