Colts’ Chris Ballard encouraged by Carson Wentz at midseason

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Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard sent two draft picks—including a likely first-rounder in 2022—to the Philadelphia Eagles in order to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz this offseason.

Reuniting Wentz with head coach Frank Reich was probably the best situation for the former and through his first nine games with the team, the results have been mostly positive.

Ballard, in an interview with the team’s website, gave his thoughts on the play of Wentz at the midway point of the 2021 season.

“We’re encouraged. Coming in to — no matter what, even with Carson and Frank’s relationship and past history, we knew there was going to be an acclimation period where he needed to get comfortable with what we were doing offensively even though he had run a lot of it, there still were some new things that we do here that I know he didn’t do in Philadelphia,” Ballard said.

Through nine games, Wentz has completed 63.3% of his passes for 2,198 yards with 17 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 100.1 passer rating. That passer rating is on pace to be the best mark he’s posted since 2018.

Wentz missed a lot of time during the preseason and failed to get the necessary work in with his new teammates. That, plus a pair of ankle sprains, got his season off to a slow start but he’s been much better over the last month or so.

Some of that Ballard attributes to Wentz getting more comfortable and confident with what the Colts are having him do within in the offense.

“And also watching him each and every week, watching his confidence grow and watching the entire offense’s confidence grow has been good to see, especially starting to get some more continuity along the O-line, being able to protect him better, all those things have led to him being able to play good football,” Ballard said.

It’s likely the Colts are going to part ways with their first-round pick in 2022 given the conditions of the trade and the trend of snaps played for Wentz this season. Barring a season-ending injury, Wentz should hit the 75% threshold in the next few weeks.

The Colts knew this going into the season after they made the trade so Ballard will have to go in without a first-round pick for the third time in the last four years—assuming everything continues the way it has.

The Colts have gotten solid production from Wentz even if we may have not seen a league-winning ceiling just yet. How far that will take them in 2021 remains to be seen, but Ballard appears encouraged by the early returns of the trade.

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