Another new year, another new quarterback.
To tell the story of the 2021 Indianapolis Colts, you have to start in August of 2019. Since the moment Andrew Luck abruptly retired from the NFL, the Colts have been swapping out quarterbacks more often than a single longing to replace their ex-partners, trying to reignite the flame that was once held inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts find themselves in somewhat of a quarterback purgatory, rotating in new passers in hopes of finding a long-term answer. First came Jacoby Brissett, who finished 19th in DYAR in 2019 but couldn’t elevate the Colts passing offense past 25th in passing DVOA. In 2020, Brissett left Indianapolis in free agency and in came Philip Rivers, trying to take one last swing at winning a title before retirement. Rivers was an improvement, finishing 13th in DYAR and helping the Colts offense finish 16th in passing DVOA while making the playoffs. However, the Colts couldn’t make it past the wild-card round, and Rivers retired in the offseason, throwing another curveball at Indianapolis. It has been a road of hard knocks at the position, much like the TV show the Colts were featured on during the season. However, head coach Frank Reich had a plan for what the Colts were going to do under center.
2021’s lucky choice to step inside the rodeo was none other than Carson Wentz, the much-embattled quarterback who was traded to Indianapolis in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. Wentz was very bad in his final year in Philadelphia. However, the hope was that reuniting Wentz with an old flame in Reich (who helped Wentz finish eighth in DYAR in 2017, the year Philadelphia won the Super Bowl), along with a feisty defense that finished seventh in defensive DVOA in 2020, would get the Colts over the hump and back to the playoff wins that Luck brought to them. The same core that helped Rivers reach the playoffs would still be there for Wentz, who wouldn’t have to take on as much responsibility as he did in Philadelphia.
What the Colts soon learned...