Nobody had a worse Sunday than the Indianapolis Colts, who were soundly defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars and missed the playoffs as a result. It is embarrassing and disastrous from every angle. It's the kind of loss that cause widespread consequences. It would be unsurprising if heads were to roll.
Nobody is getting fired. Frank Reich is widely accepted as a good head coach and GM Chris Ballard is the man who put together one of the best all-around rosters in the league. But somebody needs to take the blame for failing to qualify for the postseason, and that somebody is looking more and more like Carson Wentz.
Wentz had a typically self-destructive day in the final game of the season, completing only 17 of 29 pass attempts with one touchdown, one interception, and one lost fumble. The pick and the fumble were devastating in their own ways and effectively killed the Colts' season. Untimely turnovers and failing to come up big when the team needs it most are common themes in the Wentz story.
Indy now knows that and had to pay two draft picks for the learning experience, something that is not sitting well. Ballard, speaking to media today, refused to commit to Wentz as the starter for the team next season.
On Monday, Reich employed a similar non-comment when speaking to the press. He was asked directly if Wentz would be around next season and he threw out some word vomit and moved on:
“We loved the team we had this year, we knew everyone we brought in this year, we expected to play winning football,” Reich said. “Next year’s roster will be next year’s roster. I don’t want to open it up about one player and then start talking about all of them.
It felt like Wentz turned it around this year, but that was more because the roster around him was strong enough to cover for his weaknesses than any tangible improvement. When Indianapolis was up against the wall and needed their QB to deliver, he simply couldn't get it done. The same problems reared their heads time and time again.
It's no surprise that Ballard and Reich are having second thoughts, but it is surprising to hear them send that message publicly. These end-of-year conferences usually aren't filled with honest admissions, but by refusing to say anything at all, the Colts said everything.