INDIANAPOLIS – That conviction, that belief—what the Colts are betting on—started more than 5 years ago as Frank Reich toured the United States looking for the next franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.
As the new offensive coordinator for Doug Pederson and the Eagles, Reich was part of Philadelphia’s major decision makers tasked with finding that new signal caller.
Throughout the process—from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, a Combine hotel room in Indianapolis and a private workout in Fargo, North Dakota—it was Carson Wentz that Reich always had the most belief in.
Yes, the Eagles universally liked Wentz, but of those decision makers, it was Reich behind the idea more than anyone.
“Frank would probably be the one that was probably like all-in,” Pederson told reporters after the Eagles traded up twice to draft Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick in 2016. “And then the rest of us were like 99 percent all-in…”
When you look back and listen to the draft night call between Reich and Wentz, after the Eagles made that pick, you can hear the pure joy in the coach.
“You know all I was thinking about today was when you were in the building and the way we finished our meeting,” a smiling Reich said to Wentz, “We were like, ‘We’d love to have you in this (quarterback) room.’ You looked at us and said, ‘Make it happen.’ We did.
“…So excited. So excited. Can’t tell you. It’s all on your toughness and your competitiveness. That’s what it’s all about.”
It’s safe to say that without Wentz ascending to an MVP-level in his first two seasons, Reich wouldn’t be in the position he is now with the Colts.
Back in 2018, when Reich was getting ready to face Wentz and the Eagles, he spoke about their relationship.
“I know and love Carson and he’s a close friend of mine,” Reich said. “And I think he’s a really good player. You know I have a lot of belief and confidence in him personally…one of my coaching highlights was a chance to work with him.
“He’s just a class act.”
Without Reich’s prior history with Wentz, the Colts do not get to the point where the two are now reuniting.
Even though Reich did not call the plays for Wentz when the two were together, the coach did play an important role in the QB’s development. Wentz was the NFL’s best quarterback on third down and in the red zone during that 2017 season, which catapulted the Eagles to the Super Bowl, and Reich to the position he’s in now.
If you look at Reich’s track record in the NFL, quarterbacks often perform better under him.
Off the field, Reich and Wentz both align in how they go about their lives. That is something that shouldn’t be overlooked in this relationship.
Reich is now tasked with the challenge of getting Wentz fixed.
Wentz looked broken last season, and the Eagles decided they had seen enough from the quarterback they had given the keys to the franchise some 20 months prior.
Despite those things, that belief Reich had for the 6-5 North Dakota product a handful of years ago is still alive.
Will Reich be able to put the pieces back together?