Joining us now is Adam Caplan, NFL Insider who is on SiriusXM and 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly. You were on this thing long before the trade went down with Carson Wentz and the Colts. You saw this coming. I know you are a Philly guy, but who got the best in this?
'We are not going to know until we get past the season. Look at it this way, if Carson Wentz plays three quarters as well as he did in 2017 when he was the NFL's MVP to a degree before he got hurt – before he suffered an ACL injury against the Rams – then this is a heck of a trade by Chris Ballard and obviously Frank Reich, who was the one who really was the impetus for this. Of course, Chris (Ballard) has personnel control. Chris (Ballard) can do whatever he wants, but the reason why this trade was in the works was because Frank (Reich) and Chris (Ballard) were in agreement that this was something they wanted to explore. Frank (Reich) was the one who coached him as the offensive coordinator in '17. It's their hope that they are going to get Carson (Wentz) rolling here. He gets out of Philly, where he wanted out and hopefully Carson gets a little bit of a rebirth here with the Colts."
What is going on in Philly? I just have to ask, it is a bit of a fire there.
"So what happened here – the reason why I was so bullish on the Colts really from the beginning and even more so in the last couple weeks is that the series of issues that happened, players took shots at him over the years behind his back, some went to some media sources. Someone took a shot at him during the season that was reported by NFL Network's Michael Silver. An interesting report about questioning Carson Wentz's work ethic, (Carson) Wentz had to answer that question. He was asked about that report during a press conference. The former head coach, Doug Pederson, is not a secret, I and others reported that their relationship soured significantly, who obviously Frank Reich worked for. But there was something going on with the two of them and before (Carson) Wentz got benched, (Doug) Pederson was asked about on a Wednesday – which as you know for a Sunday game is the first day of preparation for the week – about will Carson (Wentz) still be your starter and he said, 'Oh yeah, sure, today he is.' A comment like that does not sit well with a veteran quarterback like Carson Wentz. They drafted Jalen Hurts. If you add up everything, you could add 10-12 things together at least and you go, 'Boy, I can see why (Carson) Wentz wants out and that's where we are at."
How much did Jalen Hurts speed this process up? If Jalen Hurts couldn't play or couldn't play at a high level, do you think this deal would have gotten done where Carson Wentz is on the move to the Colts?
"No, I don't think it would have matter. I just think that – Jalen Hurts is not guaranteed he will be the starter. Most likely he will be in 2021. I do a show called 'Inside the Birds' which you can – Colts fans, by the way, you can hear on any podcasting platform. We talked about Hurts' future and we talked about not only the trade but what's all in store for Jalen Hurts and that quarterback position with the Eagles. Right now, they will go forward with Hurts, they think he is the starter. I expect them to add a quarterback who may or may not be competition for Hurts. The Eagles, they can't really comment on it obviously because the trade can't be official until March 17th and also by the way, (Carson) Wentz has to pass the physical which should not be an issue. That is a team, now because they traded their franchise quarterback and they drafted Jalen Hurts – Jalen Hurts was not a first-round pick. Jalen Hurts was not a guy that a lot of teams saw going in the second round. I talked to some teams that had a third-round pick on a third-round grade, some had a fourth-round grade. Eagles really liked him and now we're going to get a chance to see him."
Do you think Carson Wentz is capable of bouncing back with the Colts after a 2020 season that he would obviously like to forget?
"Yeah, he definitely is. With Frank Reich and Marcus Brady, who I know the Colts are super excited about with his promotion as the offensive coordinator, Scott Milanovich, who has worked with quarterbacks. You might remember Scott as a player. I think they have a pretty good set up there but the way that it was explained to me is if you're going to coach Carson Wentz, you must rebuild his mechanics. It starts from the ground up and also you have to get his head right. Getting out of Philly might help. You have to rebuild his confidence, but the mechanics which were atrocious last season they have to be rebuilt. The thing that Carson Wentz is he is very competitive. He is a Type A. I know he was benched, we know that, but I think getting out of Philly is going to help him but, in the end, Frank Reich is putting a stamp on this one. This is a Frank Reich operation here as the head coach and the play caller and his coaches have to get Carson Wentz righted and that's going to take some work."
What specifically mechanically needs to be fixed?
"His footwork was off really bad. Two teams told me that when they looked at (Carson) Wentz during the process, just in terms – everyone knew he was available. When a quarterback like that is available, you want to take a look at it. Footwork, release point, didn't get his feet set – you'll watch this if you watch any coaching tape, they were too spread apart. It caused the ball to sail. Balance wasn't great. He just doesn't look like the same quarterback and Frank Reich knows Carson, he coached him for two years, he knows what he's capable of doing and I'm sure they will work on that. That's a big thing that they have to do going forward."
When you bring a quarterback in, especially a high-priced quarterback into a locker room like the Colts that have had a taste of success, the leadership comes in. Does Carson Wentz have that quality where he can take over that locker room and men get behind him?
"Yeah, look, he's a high character guy. He's a Type A, just a different guy, there is nothing wrong with him. He does everything well off the field, very good with charity. In terms of being a teammate, he's a good, decent, solid teammate. I think what happened over the years with (Carson) Wentz is the Eagles locker room, which was phenomenal in '16 and '17 for his first two years, I think the locker room changed. The Eagles, by the way, they are going to get significantly younger. I would say the locker room chemistry was not great for Wentz and other players over the last couple of years where it was terrific in '16 and '17. I just think it's a situation where – and I'm looking at the character of the players that the Colts have built by Chris Ballard and his personnel staff, it's going to be a better situation. The good thing is here if this all works out, Carson turns 29, that's not old. He turns 29 in December. He can build a relationship with (Michael) Pittman Jr. with Parris Campbell and their other receivers and Jonathan Taylor at running back and this great offensive line. That's another thing – one of the other reasons why he struggled was their offensive line had, I think, 14 different line changes, so you can't have that. Whereas we know the continuity with the Colts is terrific on the offensive line."
I've talked to a quarterback coach in the league for an opposing team who describes Carson Wentz as 'Andrew Luck liked' with what he does with his arm strength, his speed. Is that a fair comparison as far as when he is on?
"Yes, he has elite talent but everything else could be questioned. As far as the media, I'm probably one of his biggest fans but my job is to be fair and call it down he middle. He just needs to be rebuilt and there is no denying it because the tape shows it. People I trust around the NFL have told me this, so I'm basically repeating what they have told me and with my own eyes, but if (Frank) Reich can do it, this to me is a deep, deep playoff run type of team because (Chris) Ballard has built such a great roster. Kudos to Ballard and Ed Dodds, his right-hand man and the personnel staff for really putting together a very good roster. You guys are in good hands there with Chris Ballard and Frank Reich. Really, there is no – both sides of the football, it's not just one side. But have to help the quarterback and I look forward to seeing what they do with him."