The antennas of many Commanders fans went up when Washington acquired Carson Wentz from the Colts earlier this month. The deal between the two squads caused those who care about Wentz's newest team to ask: What does Frank Reich know?
Reich was the offensive coordinator with the Eagles when Wentz was at his best in the NFL, so when he parted ways with the signal-caller after just one season during their second stint together in Indianapolis, there was certainly no shortage of skepticism in Washington.
When speaking at the league's owner's meetings in Florida on Monday, though, Reich was quite supportive of his former passer.
"They're getting a player who, first of all, is a highly-intelligent player who can process a lot of information quickly," Reich said of the Commanders and Wentz. "They're getting a guy who, physically, is a prototype NFL quarterback. They're getting a guy who I think can be a top-10 quarterback."
The obvious keyword there is can, which Reich underscored with his next statement.
"That's not just a given," he said. "That has to be earned and proven, so we're all hoping that happens for him."
While it would've been a major surprise for Reich to start the week off by crushing the 29-year-old with criticism, he did come across as fairly effusive of someone he just shipped away. There's been a line of thinking that Colts owner Jim Irsay was the one most motivated to make a change under center as opposed to Reich or GM Chris Ballard, and Reich's comments could be interpreted in a way that backs up that theory (though the coach did label the trade a "unanimous" call).
"I mean, I love the guy," Reich continued. "I really do. And I think he's a really good quarterback. I think he's going to play really well for the Commanders and I'm excited to see that."
Wentz's sour finish to the 2021 campaign, which featured two ineffective outings when one victory would've sent Indianapolis to the playoffs, unfortunately seemed to have sealed his fate with the AFC South franchise. Following those losses, per Reich, he, Ballard and Irsay met and decided that starting over at QB was the "best" option for their operation.
Reich still was unsure of how to describe the conclusion of Wentz's time with the Colts, even with two months between him and that thud of an ending.
"Sometimes you can't explain everything," Reich said. "It’s 2022. Not everything is a storybook ending."
Wentz, to his credit, showed an appropriate amount of accountability for that underwhelming stretch.
Download and subscribe to the Washington Football Talk Podcast
"The way we finished, the way I finished was poor," he said in his introductory press conference with Washington reporters. "I think that definitely was tough to swallow and tough to finish like that. Especially when we thought we had a chance to really do something special and make a run. We just kind of collapsed and I didn't play good enough, well enough at the end there."
Reich's evaluation of Wentz, and specifically his take that Wentz has the ability to place himself among the sport's top quarterbacks, is notable. Sure, it's easy for him to proclaim that from afar, but Wentz has been that kind of difference-maker before and he's undeniably gifted.
However, it's the Commanders who must now assist Wentz in reaching those heights again — or else Ron Rivera might be the guy dropping quotes next year like Reich did on Monday while Wentz is busy acclimating himself to yet another team.