Carson Wentz Says Criticism from Colts' Jim Irsay 'Kind of Came Out of Left Field'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 20, 2022

ASHBURN, VA - MARCH 17: Quarterback Carson Wentz of the Washington Commanders stands with a helmet after being introduced at Inova Sports Performance Center on March 17, 2022 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In March, the Indianapolis Colts traded Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders, and owner Jim Irsay suggested that Wentz's one year as quarterback of the franchise was a mistake.

On Wednesday, Wentz said on Colin Cowherd's podcast (h/t USA Today's Scott Horner) he was surprised by those comments. 

"Kinda came out of left field," he said. "He's entitled to his own opinion. He's entitled to do what he wants with his football team." 

The Colts traded Wentz to the Commanders this offseason alongside the Nos. 47 and 240 picks in this year's draft for the Nos. 42 and 73 picks this year and a conditional third-rounder next year that will become a second-rounder if Wentz plays 70 percent of the snaps in 2022. 

The Colts then traded a third-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for Matt Ryan, and Irsay made it clear that the change was vital.

"I think the worst thing you can do is have a mistake and try to keep living with it going forward," he said in March. "For us, it was something we had to move away from as a franchise. It was very obvious."

But where did it go wrong?

Before the 2021 season, the Colts traded a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional first-rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles for Wentz, a big commitment for a player who had struggled during the 2020 season and wore out his welcome. 

Things got off to a rocky start, with the Colts opening the season 1-4, but they went on to win eight of their next 10 games and appeared to be in the driver's seat for a playoff berth. The Colts could have clinched a berth in Week 17 against the Las Vegas Raiders but lost 23-20. 

Still, they had a shot to make the playoffs in Week 18, assuming they beat the worst team in the league, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Instead, they lost 26-11 as Wentz threw for just 185 yards, a touchdown and an interception while taking six sacks. 

Irsay was incensed. 

"No disrespect to Jacksonville, but I mean, they're the worst team in the league. You play well and hard for the first quarter or so, and they're looking to go to their locker room and clean it out. I've never seen anything like that in my life," he told reporters in March. "You say, 'My God, there's something wrong here.' It needs to be corrected. I think that we feel like we did."

"Your guy's gotta pick you up and carry you through Jacksonville," he said. "He has to do it. Not an option. Has to. No excuses, no explanations."

Wentz finished the season with 3,563 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions, completing 62.4 percent of his passes while taking 32 sacks.

On paper, the numbers don't look bad. But many of the same issues that plagued him in Philadelphia—namely, ignoring his early reads and holding on to the ball too long while attempting to make a bigger play down the field, inviting pressure in the process—bubbled to the surface in Indianapolis. 

"I struggled down the stretch there," Wentz acknowledged. "The timing was poor. I didn't expect things to unfold the way they did. I thought things were in place there. Had awesome relationships with every single person in that building." 

Regardless, Irsay felt the Colts needed a change. If Ryan gets the team back to the postseason, the owner will be proved right.