The Colts offensive is adaptable.
Trainer Frank Reich drew flexibility into the architecture of his plan, a system designed to adapt in a variety of ways to his staff and attack defense.
Versatility was vital to Reich’s time in Indianapolis. For four off seasons in his tenure as Colts head coach, Reich is working with his fourth starting quarterback to optimize and adapt the scheme once again, this time to the skills of Carson Wentz.
“Her track record speaks for itself, really getting into what every man is good at,” said Wentz.
Each transition has its own challenges.
From a schematic standpoint, the shift from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett wasn’t all that drastic – the two quarterbacks did some of the same things – but the shift had to be spontaneous as the Colts expired in the regular season.
Colt’s QB Carson Wentz will have a full offseason and training camp to work with coach Frank Reich and the rest of the offensive team.
Switching from Brissett’s improvisational style to the rhythm of Philip Rivers’ out of pocket resulted in a major style shift, and although Indianapolis had an entire off-season to make the transition, the COVID-19 pandemic took some time for the Colts to tinker with.
Wentz will have a full off-season and training camp to work with Reich and the rest of the offensive staff.
JONES TO TITANS: Hawks Agree to Ship Star WR to Tennessee
RODGERS ‘FUTURE: Where could Aaron Rodgers end up if he breaks up with Packers?
“This is the time of year when we try to say, ‘This is our offensive, this is our job,’ and then he comes up with some ideas about what suits him, his skills,” said Colt’s offensive coordinator, Marcus Brady said. “Frank and this offensive, the way we built it, is being able to adapt to different quarterbacks. We’re doing this this off-season to see what meshes with what he’ll be comfortable with. “
Reich obviously knows Wentz better than most quarterbacks from their time with the Eagles.
But the plan that Reich is running in Indianapolis is different from the Doug Pederson-influenced system that led to a Super Bowl in Philadelphia. Wentz is familiar with most of the concepts of the offensive, but acknowledged that the terminology is different and the quarterback will need to learn a different language.
The story goes on
Not that the Colts know when Wentz first hit the Indianapolis training fields in mid-May.
“Carson came in with good command of the offensive,” said Reich.
Teaching a quarterback the terminology is the easy part. Wentz, Reich, Brady, and the rest of the Colts’ offensive staff have spent the past few weeks and months working on the hard part. Adjusting the offense to Wentz’s abilities.
Unlike the 38-year-old Rivers, Wentz is remarkably mobile, has a strong arm, and can be devastating when he creates something out of nothing playing in Indianapolis.
But that doesn’t mean the Colts will cross dozens of pages from the playbook, create new ones, and completely change the offensive. For example, the RPO (run-pass option) concepts that made the Eagles famous with Wentz have always been a part of the Indianapolis playbook, even if Rivers didn’t offer the same type of running ability.
A more accurate way of describing the process of adapting the offensive to Wentz is to say that the Colts are rearranging their priorities.
“Most of the time it’s not that we install a new offensive just for him,” said Brady. “It’s schemas that we did with the different quarterbacks that were in this system, whether we did it with Andrew before or Jacoby, moving, getting out of pocket, some of the drop-back stuff with Philip… It is exactly what suits him, as we call the game. “
Under Reich, the Colts have always given the quarterback a lot of input, both in designing the offense and putting together the game plan. Every quarterback has moves that they like more than others, concepts that they are comfortable with.
Part of the adjustment process is figuring out exactly what Wentz likes, and the work the quarterback put into learning the offensive before the team’s offseason program started was crucial. Wentz and Reich also work so well together because they see football the same way and can easily communicate their preferences back and forth.
The rest of the Colts coaching staff have already seen it.
“What I love about him is that he is very vocal in the board room, whether it’s his likes or dislikes, he’s not shy about what he doesn’t like, what I like about a quarterback,” said Brady. “If he believes in it, he’ll make it.”
That doesn’t mean Wentz has the final say.
Part of the beauty of Reich’s Offensive is that there is room to tailor the system to each player on the Indianapolis Offensive, and despite all the quarterback changes, there are moves and concepts that have become part of the foundation of a Colts Offensive are, which was successful in three seasons under Reich.
These staples won’t go away. The more the Colts work to adapt the offensive to Wentz, the better Wentz fits into the offensive already established in Indianapolis.
“That’s all we do: go up and down (find out) what goes well with him to make our offensive a success,” said Brady. “And not just what goes well with him, there are some things that go well with our offense, that we need to make him improve, that he need to improve and get more reps.”
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts retooling the Offensive to fit another new QB: Carson Wentz