For many of the quarterbacks who are injury prone (or, more accurately, prone to getting themselves in position to be injured) or who make dumb mistakes and inopportune times, there’s a common thread.
They try to do too much. They try to do more than they can.
Every play becomes the last play of the Super Bowl, clock ticking toward zero. Every play becomes the opportunity to transform a season in one glorious moment.
And so the quarterback holds onto the ball for too long, ignoring the moment when the play should be aborted by throwing the ball away or running out of bounds or sliding or taking a seat. On Sunday, Wentz did that in the end zone on a screen pass that the Tennessee defense quickly diagnosed.
Watch the play. He considered firing the ball to the ground in the vicinity of a couple of receivers, but he decided to try to do too much. So he stopped himself and extended the play. Then, when he was devoured by the defense, he tried to unload the ball with his left hand to avoid a safety. Instead, he gift-wrapped a Tennessee touchdown.
After the game, coach Frank Reich tried to take the blame for the blunder.
“That was 100 percent my fault,” Reich said after the game. “It was a bad call. . . . It was a screen to Mo, and they were sitting right on it. . . . I’ve been around too long to know that you don’t call a screen backed up in that situation. . . . It’s too risky. There’s too many bad things that can happen.”
Many believe Reich was simply covering for Wentz. And maybe Reich was; he was surely the driving force behind trading for Wentz.
Or maybe the most honest truth is that Reich failed to factor into his decision the fact that Wentz is too prone to trying to do too much. Thus, in that spot, Reich invited disaster.
Regardless, Wentz had a quick escape hatch and he should have taken it. It’s a chicken-and-egg question of whether Reich is to blame for putting him in that situation or Wentz is to blame for doing it. Moving forward, Reich needs to do more to coach Wentz away from trying to do too much.
Unless Wentz can be coached away from trying to do too much, he’ll never achieve as much as he could in the NF.