Like a hamster running in a cage, Colts coach Frank Reich has spent his offseason answering a persistent loop of questions about Carson Wentz, spinning on a media wheel, stuck in the cycle of the offseason. Until the former Eagles quarterback is on the field, under pressure, and delivers, the cycle will persist in Indy.
With the opening of Phase II of the offseason program, when players can hit the field with coaches for a spell, Reich was once again asked to detail why he believes Wentz, who struggled woefully last year in Philly, getting benched down the stretch, is fixable.
Reich understands the line of questioning but repudiated the suggestion that Wentz is "broken."
"I just cringe when I hear stuff like that, not that a player shouldn't be accountable for poor play on the field," the coach said Monday. "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. 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. 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."
The Colts decided to take a swing on Wentz, which included trading away a potential first-round pick if the QB plays a certain amount of reps. The club determined the castoff QB was the best route for a playoff-caliber club, given the options on the open market and where they stood in the draft.
In response to questions about Wentz this offseason, the Indy brass has ad nauseam said the relationship between Reich and Wentz is the main reason they have faith the marriage can work. With his full faith in Wentz, Reich knows the pressure is on to make it work and get the QB back to his 2017 MVP-caliber self.
"Absolutely. I think it's a collaborative effort that we work with Carson," Reich said, affirming he's aware of the self-induced pressure created by standing behind Wentz. "But yeah, you stick your neck out for players as a head coach or a GM or a scout or coach -- we all do it. As a head coach, sometimes you have a bit more say in it than maybe a position coach. But that's what you love about it. I love sticking my neck out for people I believe in. I'm willing to put it on the line for players that you believe in. I believe in this team, I believe in Carson. I feel good about it. I do know that his play will reflect the work that he does, the work that our team does, the work that our staff does, all the preparation. But I don't mind being the point person on that."
Soon enough, it will be on Wentz to prove worthy of that unbending faith on the gridiron. Until then, the cycle will continue to run throughout the summer months.