NFL reporter Albert Breer believes that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t getting the love that perhaps he deserves heading into this season.
The Indianapolis Colts kind of won the lottery when they were able to go from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck under centre for them. From 2003-2010, they won the division in seven of the eight years and were a perennial challenger to win the Super Bowl with Manning leading the team.
His neck injury in 2011 ultimately forced them to take a step back as a franchise going 2-14, but that allowed them to draft Luck, who once again got them back to being a competitive force, with four trips to the playoffs and two division titles between 2012 and 2018 before he retired due to injuries.
But since then, there has been a carousel of quarterbacks through the doors at Lucas Oil Stadium that have tried to fill the gap, but have ultimately been unsuccessful; Jacoby Brissett took over Luck in 2019, then in 2020 they brought in Philip Rivers before turning to Carson Wentz in 2021.
The latest in a long line
Now though the job falls on Matt Ryan, who came over from the Atlanta Falcons this offseason via trade.
Ryan’s days with the Falcons put him in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks, with 62, 407 passing yards and 387 touchdowns across the regular and postseason, including an MVP season in 2016 when he led them to the Super Bowl before crumbling to the New England Patriots in the 28-3 game.
Whilst the wins weren’t necessarily there for Ryan in the final few years in Atlanta, the production still was, throwing for 8,549 passing yards and 46 touchdowns, so despite being 37, there is still something left in the tank for him, and heading into a roster that includes a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball, there’s still a chance that Ryan could be the man to deliver them a Super Bowl.
And that’s why Breer thinks that Ryan needs to be taken a little bit more seriously this year.
What’s he said?
Writing in his mailbag column for SI.com, Breer claimed that given how Ryan has operated in the past, it isn’t impossible to think that he can turn the team around and bring them back to prominence, especially given the calibre of talent that they have around him:
“You look at the roster, and there’s a solid layer of truly elite players (Quenton Nelson, Shaquille Leonard, Jonathan Taylor, DeForest Buckner), even if most are at non-premium positions, and then another group of rising stars that could get there (Julian Blackmon, Michael Pittman, Bobby Okereke) and really solid pros (Mo Alie-Cox, Yannick Ngakoue, Ryan Kelly). There’s a lot of logic, quality and balance to the build.
“Then, there’s Matt Ryan, whom I feel is being completely undersold. He was in a really difficult (if not impossible) situation for a quarterback the last couple years. Before that, he’d proven to be really adaptable playing for a number of different coordinators under two defensive-pedigreed head coaches, and was top-shelf when things were right around him while consistently keeping Atlanta in the hunt, even winning an MVP for the 2016 season.
“Now, he’s 37 years old, and I won’t ignore that. But that’s not that old for a quarterback in this day and age, and I know Indy’s confident Ryan’s capable of giving them three or four years at the level he’s at now. So I think there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic on Ryan, and on the Colts in general in a year in which their division should be wide open.”
It does seem like a bit of a match made in heaven, an established quarterback taking on a group of talented players and hoping that they can move forward together with his leadership and skillset. But as the past two years have shown, it doesn’t always work out that way. Maybe this year will be ‘third time’s the charm’.