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Indianapolis Colts ‘soured’ on Carson Wentz by midseason, coachability issues remain

Matt Johnson

Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz is hoping that a second change of scenery will resurrect his reputation and provide him a chance to prove himself in the NFL. While there might be excitement in Washington, it seems evident he burned bridges with two NFL teams.

A year after the Colts traded a first-round pick to reunite Wentz with coach Frank Reich, at a point where the Philadelphia Eagles desperately wanted to move on from their franchise quarterback, history repeats itself in the NFL offseason.

Washington, in dire need of an upgrade over Taylor Heinicke, traded the 42nd and 73rd overall picks along with a conditional 2023 third-round pick for Wentz, the 47th and 240th selections. In spite of the capital Indianapolis sacrificed to acquire him an offseason prior, it happily accepted the deal.

Related: Carson Wentz responds to Indianapolis Colts owner calling Wentz era ‘mistake’

It became evident early in the 2022 offseason that the Colts badly wanted to move off their starting quarterback. At a moment when there were seemingly no buyers and an outright release seemed possible, Washington stepped up with an offer many NFL executives view as a massive overpay.

  • Carson Wentz stats: 3,563 passing yards, 27-7 TD-INT ratio, 94.6 QB rating, 9-8 record

The Commanders’ organization has plenty of optimism that Wentz will uplift the offense, creating bigger players and providing more stability. While the reports out of Washington are positive now, it only took a few months before the Colts realized they made a grave mistake.

On the Yahoo Sports’ You Pod to Win the Game NFL podcast, reporter Charles Robinson shared that there continue to be reports out of Indianapolis regarding just how discontent they became with Wentz.

“One of the things that bothers me about this offseason, when it comes to Carson Wentz, I can’t believe how sour Indianapolis was on him after one year. It’s unbelievable when you talk to people in the organization about the move in retrospect. People in that franchise, decision-makers and it wasn’t just a Jim Irsay thing. I don’t even think it was just a Chris Ballard thing…it was like they knew in the middle of the season…I talked to a guy and he was like, ‘Look, we knew in the middle of the year we were done with him, it wasn’t going to work.'”

NFL insider Charles Robinson on perception of Carson Wentz from Indianapolis Colts

As of now, that’s not the sentiment Commanders’ coaches or executives are feeling. However, there are at least reasons to believe that might change at some point during the 2022 NFL season.

Issues the Washington Commanders may face with Carson Wentz

NFL: Washington Commanders Minicamp
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Once viewed as the face of the Eagles’ franchise, Philadelphia soured on Wentz not long after signing him to a lucrative contract extension. He increasingly became difficult to coach as time went on, tuning out the Eagles’ coaching staff and rejecting any additional criticism regarding his in-game mistakes.

There were also issues in the locker room. Anonymous teammates indicated after the 2020 season that Wentz was a selfish quarterback and played favorites. Reports also indicated that he at times wouldn’t take accountability for bad decisions he made and resisted efforts to fix issues only to revert back to the same problems that hurt the offense.

Related: History of Carson Wentz issues hint at trouble for Washington Commanders

Indianapolis believed a change of scenery and being reunited with Reich, a coach he liked, would change things. Instead, he caused frustration before the season even began as a leader of the team who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccination and it proved costly. However, the issues went deeper.

According to Robinson, the very same issues the Eagles’ coaching staff experienced in their final years with Wentz happened to Reich and his coaching staff in Indianapolis this past season.

“From what I was told, it was the same problem he had in Philly. He is stubborn as s*** and…I can’t believe he really is this hard to coach. I don’t know what it is about him that turns off coaches that try to work with him, but man they were just really, really irritated by him not listening, him reverting to things they tried to work out.”

Charles Robinson on issues Indianapolis Colts had with Carson Wentz

It all explains why the Colts were desperate to dump Wentz’s contract and his presence in the organization this offseason. Fortunately for the club, Washington stepped up with an offer no other NFL team was willing to make.

  • Carson Wentz contract: $28.294 million cap hit in 2022

There’s no denying Wentz has the physical talent to be an above-average quarterback, a player capable of utilizing the talent around him and leading the Commanders to the playoffs. However, the 29-year-old’s personality and attitude towards being coached might prove to be another issue for Washington.