Matt Ryan, Nick Foles brings QB stability, which the Indianapolis Colts have wanted for years

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INDIANAPOLIS – Things have definitely changed in the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback room over the last year.

The quarterback’s questions flowed like a river downstream after they bought Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

Can Wentz stay healthy?

Can Wentz overcome the mental hurdle of being benched in his final season with Philadelphia?

Why is the Colts going with an untested backup Jacob Eason – a 2020 quarterback who had never taken a pro snap – instead of acquiring a veteran behind Wentz?

Now in 2022?

The Colts have a new starter in Matt Ryan – acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in March – who has only missed three out of 225 games in his 14-year NFL career and was the league’s MVP in 2016.

And the backup quarterback?

The Colts are not playing this time. They signed veteran – and familiar face to coach Frank Reich – Nick Foles to support Ryan.

“Queue [general manager] Chris [Ballard] and I said it was in a perfect world, you get a documented backup, but if it does not happen, we will not chase it, ”said Reich. “We are not going to pay too much. We are not going to do anything crazy that could hurt the team in the long run.

“I wanted Nick since I’ve been here to be on this team because I think he’s such a good player. I think he’s the perfect backup quarterback. It literally fell into our lap. We did not chase it, if it did not succeed, we would have been happy for Sam [Ehlinger]but we’re really glad we got Nick. ”

Having stability as a quarterback is a minor concern for the Colts, who have legitimate expectations of winning the AFC South this season.

Last season, there were times when they had more to worry about as a quarterback than Wentz’s inconsistency. Wentz missed a lengthy period in training camp with a left foot injury that required surgery. He then sprained his left ankle in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

And you can not forget that the unvaccinated Wentz got COVID-19 late in the season when the Colts were in the playoffs. Although he played in Week 17, he did not train all week and the Colts lost 23-20 to the Arizona Cardinals.

It got to the point that Reich even called former starter Philip Rivers to see if he had any interest in retiring to play for them.

Foles, if pressed into playing time, are aware of Reich’s attack after they and Wentz were together in Philadelphia, where Reich was the offensive coordinator. After Wentz suffered a torn left ACL in the 2017 season, the Foles stepped in and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots. Foles was on the receiving end of tight-end Trey Burton’s touchdown pass on the legendary ‘Philly Special’ trick game in that game.

“You have a guy in Nick Foles who has proven he can do it on the biggest level and the biggest stage, in any kind of weather, in any kind of moment,” Reich said. “I like to think that sometimes there are backups that can come in and control a game and squeak a win or two out, and there are some that can throw for 500 yards and win a game. It is “what Nick has proven he can do. He can win a shootout. He can win a shootout and he can win a close match, make the key plays in a close match.”

Foles has not been as effective since Reich left the Eagles to become the Colts’ coach after the Super Bowl. He is a combined 7-10 who starts in his final season with the Eagles (2018) and stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. The Bears released Foles earlier this offseason, which made him really think carefully about where his next stop should be. He had no interest in just jumping ship to his sixth different team during his NFL career, which started in 2012.

“I wanted to be picky and be smart about it because I have two small children and one on the way, and I’m not going to move my family just to go to work,” Fole told reporters this week. “I want to enjoy the gate.”

Foles knows his role in Indianapolis: backing Ryan, helping to provide insight into the quarterback space and stepping in and playing if necessary.

It is not a complex situation.

“This is Matt’s team,” Foles said. “He’s the leader and he controls the ship.… I think every time you have a QB room like this, you’re excited to go to work every day. You’re excited to work with an MVP. “

The Colts’ mantra has always been that it’s not just about the quarterback, but they have realized that it’s hard to win when they do not have the stability and confidence in that position.

They have it now in Ryan and Foles.

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