5 Things to Know: Carson Wentz

The Colts officially acquired quarterback Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday. Here are five things you should know about the 28-year-old former Pro Bowler. 

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He has connections to the Colts' coaching staff.

Colts coach Frank Reich was the Eagles' offensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017 — Wentz's rookie year and then his eye-popping second season. 

"It really gives me chills to think about the year he had in Year 2," Reich said while with the Eagles in 2017. "We all knew the upside, but I just think he exceeded it this year so fast. A lot of credit to his teammates, especially the offensive line for what they did. Carson worked his butt off and he's a fearless player. Made plays.

"The thing that is most impressive to me is that when you get a guy who can make all the plays that he makes, but the decision-making was so good that he protected the ball the way that he protected it and not put our team in harm's way but yet still had the aggressiveness and the playmaking ability to help us score a lot of points and throw a lot of touchdowns.

"He's special."

Reich also had a prior relationship with his last quarterback, Philip Rivers, with whom he worked with the San Diego Chargers from 2013-2015. 

But it's not just Reich who has a strong relationship with Wentz among Colts coaches. Senior offensive assistant Press Taylor worked with Wentz in all five of his seasons with the Eagles, starting as a quality control/assistant quarterbacks coach in 2016-2017, then as quarterbacks coach in 2018-2019, and then as quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator in 2020. 

He was really, really good in a three-year stretch with the Eagles.

Only four quarterbacks had better passer ratings than Wentz's 98.3 mark between 2017 and 2019: Kirk Cousins (99.9), Deshaun Watson (101.0), Russell Wilson (103.6) and Drew Brees (111.3). Only Wilson, Watson and Brees threw touchdowns at a higher rate than Wentz in that same timespan, and only Brees and Aaron Rodgers threw interceptions at a lower rate among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 pass attempts. 

The success Wentz found in that three-year stretch was propelled by his explosive 2017 season, which saw him become an MVP candidate with 33 touchdowns and 3,296 yards before he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 14. Wentz remained productive after returning from that injury over the next two years, posting a 96.7 passer rating with 48 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. 

Wentz started 12 games in 2020 and threw for 2,620 yards, 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions; he also rushed for 276 yards and a career-best five rushing touchdowns.

He's already started working out with his Colts teammates.

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That's Wentz with wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr. and Dezmon Patmon. While Wentz has an existing relationship with Reich and has familiarity with the offense he'll operate in Indianapolis, getting on the same page as his teammates will be a big part of his adjustment. And it looks like Wentz has already started to put in that work.

*He's one of the physically biggest quarterbacks in NFL history. *

Wentz is one of 13 quarterbacks in NFL history to attempt at least 1,000 passes while standing 6-foot-5 or taller and weighing at least 237 pounds. There are some pretty big names (pun intended) on the list with him, like Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and Josh Allen.

Wentz's blend of size, mobility and arm strength led Reich to call him a "dominant athlete" after the Eagles drafted him in 2016.

"Carson is big, he's strong, he's athletic, he's got a very good arm and he can create and make plays on the run," general manager Chris Ballard told the Colts Official Podcast. "Which is something you always like, which puts pressure on the defense."

*He's given back to the community through his AO1 Foundation since 2017. *

The Carson Wentz Audience of 1 Foundation, which he established between his first and second seasons in the NFL, has a mission statement of "uplifting individuals and communities around the world by demonstrating God's love for His people."

The AO1 Foundation is involved in three ministries. Thy Kingdom Crumb has addressed food insecurity by serving nearly 60,000 free meals with the goal "to help people experience the unconditional love of God in a tangible manner," according to the AO1 Foundation's website. Thy Kingdom Crumb also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by launching Love From The Crumb, which distributes free grocery boxes and frozen meals to struggling families and essential workers.

From the AO1 Foundation's website: "We believe that God gave all of us the greatest free gift through His son, Jesus Christ. We desire to share that same love of God in a tangible way with our communities by distributing quality food with excellence. When you enjoy a delicious meal from TKC, just remember that God sees and values you."

Wentz's AO1 Foundation also includes the Outdoor Ministry, which has provided nearly 150 outdoor experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses or other life-altering medical situations.

"The Outdoor Ministry aims to serve children with physical challenges, life-threatening illnesses or other medical hardships in order to 'Foster a genuine passion for outdoor activities and bring people closer to God through discipleship.' This is accomplished through two programs: Mountain Movers and Camp Conquerors. We believe valuable life lessons can be learned through the outdoors and that the love of God will be effectively demonstrated to our participants through these programs. It is our hope that this investment of time and resources will encourage children in their walk with Christ through continued discipleship."

And through a partnership with Mission of Hope: Haiti, the AO1 Foundation has invested $990,000 in the Haiti Sports Complex to "bring hope to a nation through sport." Wentz visited Haiti on a mission trip in the spring of 2017 and was drawn to establish an AO1 Foundation presence there.

"Only a few months after Carson's initial visit, the AO1 Foundation granted MOH: Haiti the funds to complete Phase I of the project, an 18,750-square-foot multipurpose building complete with locker rooms, bathrooms, showers and two sport courts. Phase I has since been completed and programming has begun inside the multipurpose building.

Currently, Phase II of the Haiti Sports Complex is underway, which includes the addition of turf fields adjacent to the multipurpose building.

Through the partnership with MOH: Haiti, the AO1 Foundation will continue to help fund, maintain and run the Haiti Sports Complex."

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