Add Colts radio voice Rick Venturi to the growing list of people connected with the Colts to blast beleaguered quarterback Carson Wentz.
Venturi, a former college head coach and longtime NFL assistant coach, is now the color analyst on the Colts' radio network, and in an interview on radio station 107.5 The Fan with a host apparently known only as "JMV," Venturi cast doubt on Wentz' ability to continue as the Colts' quarterback.
"A franchise can make a mistake," Venturi told 107.5 according to the Indianapolis Star. "It can make a mistake evaluating people, be it a draft, a trade, free agency. It's never an exact science. But the biggest mistake that any franchise makes, $15 million notwithstanding, is to make the second mistake, and that's live with the first mistake.
"To me, you make a hard decision. And right now, I would be leaning toward going in a different direction."
The Eagles in February shipped Wentz to the Colts for two draft picks that wound up becoming the 16th pick in this year's draft and a 3rd-round pick in last year's draft that indirectly became Milton Williams.
Some believed being reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich, his offensive coordinator with the Eagles when he had his big 2017 season, would rejuvenate Wentz after a disappointing 2020 season that saw him get benched for Jalen Hurts.
"He couldn't have walked into a better situation," Venturi said. "I bought into the deal. I made the highlight tape, I looked at him, I looked at all the tools that he had. He's a multiple-tool player. When you look at him in isolation, there's absolutely nothing that he cannot do. And he came to a situation with the quarterback whisperer, a guy who wanted him, who stood up on the table for him, who sold them to this organization."
Although the former Pro Bowler put up decent numbers -- 27 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and a 94.6 passer rating -- he struggled in the last two games of the season, upset losses to the Raiders and Jaguars that knocked the Colts out of the playoff hunt.
In the 26-11 loss to the Jaguars -- 14 1/2-point underdogs -- Wentz lost a fumble, threw an interception, passed for only 185 yards and put up only three points until the final minutes of the game. That cost the Colts a playoff berth and meant Wentz would reach his 30th birthday without ever winning (or even finishing) a playoff game.
Venturi isn't just some radio guy.
He's a former head coach at Northwestern and coached in the NFL from 1982 through 2008 with the Colts, Browns, Saints and Rams. He also had two stints as an interim NFL coach, replacing Colts coach Ron Meyer when he was fired after five games in 1991 and replacing Saints coach Jim Mora when he was fired after eight games in 1996. He most recently served as Rams defensive coordinator in 2008.
But he's had it with Wentz.
"When you look at Wentz, it's very easy to be wowed," he said. "But in the end, some players grow on you and some players grow negatively. He has grown negatively on me because what I see in the long haul is the guy who kills us with erratic throws, erratic periods of accuracy.
"This kills me the most, because I think this is probably irreversible, is absolute head-scratching judgment issues that are just ridiculous issues. We've seen them over and over. I think he's more blacksmith than surgeon. I think the big moments are his enemy. I doubt that's reversible. Frank couldn't do it. Who can?"
Wentz has earned just over $100 million so far in his six NFL seasons, about $79 million from the Eagles and $21 million from the Colts.
He has a $28,294,118 cap figure in 2022 but would count only $15 million in dead money -- the remaining guaranteed money from his original Eagles contract -- if the Colts release him. If they release him after 2022, they would absorb no dead cap money.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast