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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Bridges: Colts fans, the problem isn’t your quarterback

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Carson Wentz has been a marked man since the day the Indianapolis Colts acquired him from the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s just that simple.

Is he healthy, and can he stay that way for the entire year? Throw in some training camp drama that included a surgeon performing a “minor” procedure on his foot and the personal decision to not take a COVID-19 vaccination and risk his availability to play, and you’ve got more than enough concerns about a guy who’s trying to resuscitate his NFL career.

With very little time to prepare in training camp, it was logical to think Wentz would be at the very least rusty, and maybe even terrible, in his Colts debut against the Seattle Seahawks.

After watching Wentz rather intently the entire game, it was pretty obvious that while he’s not a threat to challenge the usual suspects in the NFL for the MVP award, he’s not the reason the Colts lost their home opener.

While his statistics weren’t exactly eye-popping, they did not cause anyone to dial 911. Wentz finished the day with 25 completions on 38 attempts for 251 yards and two touchdowns, and no interceptions, on a day when he was constantly under pressure.

The real telltale stats say he dropped back 41 times and got hit in some fashion on 15 of those, including being sacked four times. With virtually no time to throw and no game-breaking threat at wide receiver, Wentz actually, at the very least, exceeded any reasonable expectations one could foster but undoubtedly took the majority of the blame from season ticket holders to armchair QBs for the defeat.

I mean, forget about the makeshift line that couldn’t protect him or give their running game a puncher’s chance; it was all on Wentz, if you asked any of those faithful in attendance. Not to mention a number of individuals in the media who are placing far too much blame at his feet as well.

The guy couldn’t rush Russell Wilson or line up at cornerback to shut down the Seattle passing attack, but he’s still an easy target for the complete team collapse we witnessed.

Injuries and a lack of talent and depth on this Colts roster is the real story, and none of those who predicted a division title and a deep playoff run want to talk about anything but the quarterback play.

Things won’t get any easier for the Colts this weekend when a team that many feel is better than the Seahawks comes calling, but the reality is the Los Angeles Rams are a talented, well coached team that’s planning a victory celebration at an altitude of 41,000 feet as they charter back to California.

Wentz will undoubtedly continue to be under the microscope, and rightfully so.

That’s the trade-off when you’re a highly paid signal caller in today’s NFL, but let’s all take a deep breath and chase it with a dose of reality and look at this Colts team for what it is. The words deeply flawed come to mind, and there’s nowhere to hide in professional football when that’s the case. Go ahead and blame Wentz all you want, but until some proficient play from the offensive line occurs, and a resemblance of a pass rush emerges, nothing will change.

Blaming the quarterback may be fashionable, but it’s not even remotely accurate. Then again, Colts fans don’t want to hear that. The truth can be pesky, and we certainly don’t want that to get in the way of lofty expectations and victories.

A reality check is clearly past due regarding this roster, and that’s never something a fan loves to admit. You pay to get in and I don’t, but that doesn’t change the situation one bit.

Here’s the point where I’d normally say you’re welcome, but I’ll refrain. I’m not always right (really?) but booing Wentz at this juncture is just plain wrong and without merit.

See you Sunday, and don’t pour a watered-down soda on me simply because you disagree.

Danny Bridges, who will now undoubtedly be accused of being Carson Wentz’s public relations representative, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or bridgeshd@aol.com.

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