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Colts Daily Notebook: Carson Wentz, Frank Reich Finding Right Balance On Offense

Wentz was also a full participant in Thursday's practice, the first time he fully practiced since spraining both his ankles Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams. 

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Through four games this season, Carson Wentz has had zero plays graded as "turnover-worthy" by Pro Football Focus.

He led the NFL with 24 turnover-worthy plays in 2020.

Quibble all you want with PFF's stat or methodology, but Wentz has not put the ball in harm's way this season. He's thrown one interception, which came on a goal-line shovel pass that Aaron Donald blew up. That was not a turnover-worthy play, even if it resulted in a turnover, because Wentz made the correct decision on the play and it just turned out the best defensive player on the planet made a play.

"Even the one interception was more of a mishap on a shovel play," offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said.

Wentz described a push-pull on each play of "aggression, discipline, aggression, discipline" in trying to push the ball down field but being smart about taking what's there. Coach Frank Reich feels Wentz's balance in toeing that line has been on point this season, especially in last weekend's game against the Miami Dolphins.

Wentz completed 24 of 32 passes (75 percent) for 228 yards (7.1 yards/attempt) with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 115.1.

"I think this week was his best yet," Reich said. "I thought he was right on the money all day. When I watched the film back a couple times, he just had the right instinct on when to get it downfield, when to check it down.

"What we talked about in our meeting, in our quarterback meeting was he obviously made some nice chunk plays down the field, but there were three, four, five plays that he made that were three or four or five or six-yard gains underneath that are important plays that keep us out of third-and-long. He's getting the ball out of his hand, not trying to extend it, just taking that short stuff but then still making chunk plays. That's the right mix that we're looking for."

Wentz said he's felt his decisions following Reich's eyes more and more as the pair get more experience four years after they were last together with the Philadelphia Eagles. Meaning: Reich's intent and Wentz's execution of the play calls are meshing together.

"It's been fun to see even some of the same plays I've been running for now my sixth year, but there's just tweaks, little tweaks and things," Wentz said. "And every week I feel more and more confident with it, understanding what he's expecting on a given play and how I see it. It's been a really good working relationship. Every week it gets better and we're on the same page for the most part."

Through these first four games, Wentz certainly has built a foundation of taking care of the ball. On that foundation, now, Reich and Wentz believe they can build more explosive plays into the offense as the season goes on.

"He's playing the position in a good manner. Now it's just a question of continuing to make the plays we know he's capable of of making, plays that are big plays in games," Reich said. "Now you gotta pick the pace up on that without giving back too much on the other side. Because it's always a risk/reward, you take chances making plays and it's always a chance that you're putting things at risk.

"So it's always that fine balance. I think Carson is at a spot right now in his career, in this specific season where I think he has the right mindset, he's got a very mature mindset on it. He understands what his role is and what he has to do for us to play winning football on offense."

Thursday's practice report

Wentz, you'll notice, was listed as a full participant with an ankle – not ankles.

"I definitely feel much better," Wentz said. "I came out of the game thankfully unscathed. Felt good the next morning and the extra rest here early in the week has definitely helped as well. Hopefully we're not talking about it too much longer and they're in a pretty good place."

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