6 Colts who need to step up for Carson Wentz

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Kevin Hickey
·4 min read
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Though it won’t become official until the new league year starts in March, the Indianapolis Colts are expected to trade two draft picks for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Once the deal goes through, the Colts will need to put Wentz in the best situation possible. That means players currently on the team, as well as the decision-makers, must step up for their new quarterback. If they don’t, it could mean disaster.

Of course, Wentz himself has to step up. That comes first and foremost. Getting back to form with his confidence and mechanics has to be the first thing that happens in order for this trade to be worth it.

But now let’s take a look at which Colts must step up for the 28-year-old quarterback:

WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Likely going to be Wentz's top target, Pittman Jr. is coming off of a solid rookie season in which he showed flashes of talent. He dealt with a leg injury for the majority of the first half of the season, which slowed down his progress. But as Wentz's likely WR1—barring a change this offseason—Pittman Jr. has to continue his development. He showed flashes of being a strong receiver after the catch thanks to his combination of size and speed while proving he can lead the offense on the big stage during the playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. If Pittman Jr. can continue his development, it will go a long way in Wentz getting back to form.

Offensive Line

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

Obviously. We know the offensive line will have to step up, but it would be negligent to not add the unit here. The Colts need to find a left tackle to stick next to Quenton Nelson. How they go about that is unclear before free agency. But one of Wentz's downfalls was the supporting cast he's had around him. Between injuries and poor play, the Eagles offensive line contributed to Wentz's lack of confidence. If they continue to dominate as expected, Wentz's confidence should increase.

WR Parris Campbell

AP Photo/Gary McCullough

Campbell has to step up simply for himself and his career. He's been handed a raw deal given the ridiculous amount of injuries he's had to play through in just his first two seasons. He missed all but one game because of a torn PCL in 2020. But if Campbell can get on the field and stay there, he could be a huge asset for Wentz and the Colts offense. His yards-after-catch ability and pure speed will give Wentz a quick option out of the slot. His skillset is something the Colts have missed. If he can stay healthy and step up, Campbell will be a reason Wentz can bounce back.

HC Frank Reich

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

He isn't a player but he will have just as big of an impact on Wentz. Maybe even bigger. Reich has to make sure Wentz can run the offense efficiently. This means putting him in a situation to succeed from a game-planning perspective while getting him back to the level of confidence he had early in his career. That's much easier said than done. Wentz doesn't have the mental capabilities that Philip Rivers had. That's not to say Wentz isn't smart but Reich likely won't be able to trust Wentz at the line of scrimmage like he did with Rivers. Both on and off the field, Reich really needs to step up for Wentz, which is expected.

GM Chris Ballard

Syndication: Indianapolis

As the man in charge, Ballard has to do what he can to get enough surrounding pieces to support Wentz. He knows this. But the Colts have to make sure they build around their new quarterback or else this trade won't be worth it. This means making sure the offensive line has enough depth, something that hasn't been there in the past. This means finding explosive players who can make plays after the catch and downfield. This means making sure the defense can stay at that top-eight level as to not put so much pressure on the new quarterback. No one should envy Ballard's job right now. A lot is hanging on the line because of this trade, which means he has to do everything in his power to make sure they get the right pieces to support Wentz.

RB Jonathan Taylor

AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

Though Taylor didn't win Rookie of The Year, he was arguably the best rookie running back in the class. He had an exceptional second half of the season that led to him being the rushing king of rookies while being tied for the most rushing touchdowns among rookies as well. Taylor should be expected to repeat a performance like that—1,100 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns—as long as he makes sure he picks up where he left off. With a full season of starting under his belt, he most likely will. And Taylor will be a huge reason for Wentz's path back to reliability if he steps up.

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