Training camp didn’t exactly go the way the Indianapolis Colts and new quarterback Carson Wentz would have liked.
Wentz, acquired from Philadelphia in the offseason to replace the retired Philip Rivers, underwent foot surgery Aug. 2 and missed three weeks of practice, then spent five days in quarantine on the COVID-19 list after coming in close contact with a staff member who tested positive.
He returned to practice as a full participant Wednesday, which has given him precious few reps with the first-team offense heading into Sunday’s season opener at home against the Seattle Seahawks.
“It’s going to come down to how the doctors feel, where I’m at and everything,” Wentz said. “But just being out there, full pads (this week), taking a handful of reps was definitely a step in the right direction.”
Running back Nyheim Hines said it looked like Wentz hadn’t missed a beat.
“He’s looked good,” Hines said. “Throwing the ball well, doesn’t look like he’s missed anything. He’s in control of all the checks and looks like he knows what he’s doing out there.
“… If he has to be Superman, he can do that; if he just has to turn around and hand the ball off, he can do that too. I think with Carson, I think he’s going to do whatever is required to win the game. That’s what we all feel about him and he’s going to do whatever it takes.”
Wentz, who is trying to overcome a season in Philadelphia in which he threw 15 interceptions and was sacked 50 times, both league highs, is reunited with coach Frank Reich, who was the offensive coordinator with the Eagles early in Wentz’s career.
Receiver T.Y. Hilton is out with a neck injury, but Wentz can turn to running back Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie last season as the Colts went 11-5.
Reich said All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson (foot/back) and veteran left tackle Eric Fisher (Achilles), both coming off injuries, could play Sunday.
The Colts are strong defensively, with All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard. Edge rusher Kwity Paye, their first-round draft pick, earned Pro Football Focus’ highest grade among rookie defenders in the preseason.
“For me, looking back at (the) 2020 season, it’s consistency,” Buckner told the Indianapolis Star. “For a point in time, we were the No. 1 defense in the league. And then we kind of fell off toward the end. … If we’re consistent from start to finish, I believe we could finish (as) the No. 1 defense in the league.”
The reigning NFC West champion Seahawks, who were 12-4 last season, have a new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, who came over from the Los Angeles Rams, but quarterback Russell Wilson has the same skill-position players at his disposal as in the past, notably running back Chris Carson and receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Under Waldron, the Seahawks plan to make better use of the short- and intermediate-passing game.
“It’s really about getting the ball to our guys fast, quick as possible, taking our (deep) shots, too,” Wilson said. “And also giving the ball to (Carson) and letting him run is always a good thing.”
Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown returned to practice Monday after reworking his contract. Safety Jamal Adams also got a new deal this offseason.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll reported no serious injuries to starters for the season opener.
–Field Level Media