INDIANAPOLIS -- Quarterback Carson Wentz arrived in Indianapolis earlier this spring with questions surrounding his character as a teammate in Philadelphia. That was only part of the questions when it comes to Wentz, though.
There also were physical questions on what he could do on the football field as the Colts’ new starting quarterback.
Wentz has a relationship with head coach Frank Reich and receivers coach Mike Groh, because they were together at different times with the Eagles. He has taken the time to get to know his new teammates, asking about their personal and professional lives.
“He comes in and asks about my family, my sister and things like that,” running back Nyheim Hines said. “As a new guy, it’s pretty cool. It shows that he’s caring and trying to take care of us.”
Wentz looked like he was fitting in just fine when he was going jump shot for jump shot with tight end and former Division I basketball player Mo Alie-Cox in a shooting game on a portable goal on the practice field recently.
The biggest showdown of OTAs:@cj_wentz vs. @MoAlie81. 🏀 pic.twitter.com/gKXo4pUOGS— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) May 24, 2021
From knocking down deep jumpers to throwing deep passes to his teammates in California and Indianapolis, Wentz has brought some excitement to the Colts in just a short period of time, albeit with no pads or defensive players trying to chase him down.
Second-year wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. noticed something about Wentz when they were working out in California back in March. Pittman was a running post route where Wentz threw the ball 65 yards in the air, and on the money.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I really gotta dig down and run,” Pittman recalls.
Sixty-five yards in the air is nothing. Fellow receiver Zach Pascal thinks his new starting quarterback can “probably throw the ball 80, 100 yards,” and Hines believes Wentz “throws one of the prettier deep balls I’ve ever seen.”
“I don’t know where it [ranks] in the league, but I’ve played with enough quarterbacks,” Hines said. “He has a really pretty deep ball. I’ve liked everything I’ve seen from him so far.”
This is no knock on 2020 starter Philip Rivers, because his efficient season helped the Colts finish with an 11-5 record and get back to the playoffs, but Wentz has brought a different offensive dimension to the offense.
Rivers excelled at making quick throws to avoid getting sacked. That’s something Wentz will have to do too, after being sacked 50 times in just 12 games last season. Wentz is more mobile and can throw the ball farther than Rivers.
“I love Philip,” Hines said. “He’s just not as mobile as Carson. Carson will probably be able to get out of a little bit more jams and pressure situations in the red zone and third down.”
Wentz has spent countless hours breaking down offensive film of his new team. He noticed how much they like to spread the ball around so that everybody gets touches, which also doesn’t allow defenses to scheme for just one player to stop. Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett and Rivers, the Colts' past three starting quarterbacks, had a career-high or second-highest completion percentage under Reich because they were able to rely on so many different options in the offense.
“I see that completely being the same way this year,” Wentz said. “Because it’s never a one-man show out there. I’m gonna throw the ball where it’s supposed to go on each play.”
The Colts won’t be back together as a team again until the start of training camp in late July, after offseason workouts ended Thursday. But Wentz isn’t done working to bond with his teammates. The goal is for him to work out with them at some point before camp starts.
“I’m not 100 percent sure of the details yet,” he said. “We’ll get together maybe even here in June and then probably in July as well. I’ve done that in the past in Philly as well and it’s just a great time to not just get the physical work on the field, but to get together and bond outside of football and get to know the guys. I look forward to that every summer and I look forward to doing that again once or twice this summer as well.”