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Colts GM Chris Ballard: Carson Wentz More Like Andrew Luck Than Philip Rivers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2021

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) smiles as he talks with teammates during warmups before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Friday he's enjoyed getting a chance to know quarterback Carson Wentz, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in a March trade.

"He's got a great sense of humor, doesn't take himself too seriously," Ballard told reporters. "He's dialed in, he works. I'd probably compare him a little more to Andrew [Luck] than to Philip [Rivers]."

The GM added: "He's comfortable in his own skin. He's been great. Great to be around, great family, great perspective on life. He's going to be a good player for us."

Wentz's arrival to Indianapolis reunited him with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who served as the Eagles' offensive coordinator during Wentz's first two NFL seasons in 2016 and 2017.

The 28-year-old North Dakota State product put together his best statistical season in 2017 when he threw for 33 touchdowns in 13 games with just seven interceptions. He led all players in ESPN's Total QBR that year and finished third in MVP voting despite tearing his ACL in Week 14.

He remained productive over the next two years, tallying 48 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but his numbers fell off a cliff in 2020. He posted a career-low 57.4 completion percentage with 16 TDs and 15 picks before getting benched for rookie Jalen Hurts late in the campaign.

The Colts are betting on a bounce-back season from Wentz, and Ballard said the veteran's previous work within Reich's system should allow him to hit the ground running.

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"When you have a familiarity with the offense and the coach that's coaching you every day, then automatically there's going to be a comfort level there," Ballard said. "It's like last year. We didn't have any offseason. Philip came in, knew the offense. There wasn't a lag in terms of him playing and understanding what needed to be done."

Indianapolis has some offensive talent in place with running backs Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack, wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal and tight ends Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox.

Add in a defense that ranked eighth in yards allowed per game (332.1) in 2020, and the Colts have the pieces in place for a deep playoff run after being knocked out in the Wild Card Round last season.

Wentz must return to peak form for the squad to reach its full potential, though.

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