Will Matt Ryan solve the Indianapolis Colts’ QB problem for now?

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INDIANAPOLIS – And now there will be six.

Six seasons.

Six different Week 1 starting quarterbacks for the Indianapolis Colts.

It’s surprising that coach Frank Reich’s head is not spinning in circles non-stop because he has yet to have the same starting quarterback in back-to-back seasons since his arrival in Indianapolis in 2018.

It’s Matt Ryan’s turn to see if he can go two seasons in a row as the team starts as a quarterback. The hope was that Carson Wentz would be that player, but the Colts sent him to the Washington Commanders as soon as they could after just one season with the franchise.

Ryan is seven years older than Wentz and his best year may be behind, but the belief is that the Colts will get a more mature player in the position.

“It certainly seems like an adult move,” said ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky. “I know it seems like a negative shot at Carson, but that’s not the point. It’s also hard not to sit there and say there were a lot of things missing off the field. It sounds like that.

“And now they’re getting a guy [Ryan] who is fully capable of being the CEO of a billion-dollar company and being in charge of it every single day. I think there is value in what is not asked. ”

The Colts do not regret trading with Wentz, despite giving the Philadelphia Eagles their first-round pick in the 2022 deal, but at the same time they also fundamentally acknowledged that it was a mistake to switch him to the Commanders for a third round. select earlier this month.

“I wish Carson good luck, I think he has a chance to step into a different environment and play great in Washington,” Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters at NFL owners’ meetings earlier this week. “It’s just for us that it was something we had to get away from as a franchise. It was very clear.”

The Colts went into this offseason with no direction as a quarterback. The only thing they knew was that they could not bring Wentz back for another season even though they had no idea who their starter would be in 2022 due to a mediocre quarterback market. Colts general manager Chris Ballard admits they were lucky to land Ryan. It might not have happened if the Atlanta Falcons had not entered the mix for Deshaun Watson, who eventually chose the Cleveland Browns.

“To sit here and say we just had a flat plan for that QB [position] had to work, we did not, ”Ballard told reporters during the owners’ meeting.

The Colts now feel they have a short-term stability at quarterback while looking for their possible successor to Ryan at the position. Ryan has started every game he has played – while only missing three games – since he was selected as the No. 3 overall in 2008. He was the NFL MVP in 2016.

“I feel really strongly that Matt is what the franchise needs,” Irsay said at the owners’ meetings. “I really think we have an opportunity, and he’s young enough, to win a world championship with him. We feel we have that ability.”

One thing that Reich is well equipped to do due to the constant change of quarterback is to take into account his offensive playbook of who the starter is at the time.

Ryan is, unlike Wentz, more of a pocket passer who excels at play-action.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit more of Frank adapting to Matt,” Orlovsky said. “Matt has not been a notorious guy for running a lot [run-pass options]. That’s a big part of what they did offensively last year with the Colts …

“Matt had his best years playing action football, but that’s probably going to be the case for any quarterback. I’ll say, if you ask me, the most important physical part of his game, or the best physical part of his game. , is his ball placement.His ability to be really accurate and that’s something that in [the Colts’] attack is a required aspect of the game. “

Ryan, who has completed 65.5% of his career pass attempts, is just one piece in an offensive puzzle that still lacks several pieces – like a starting left tackle after moving on from Eric Fisher, a starting tight end after Jack Doyle left retired and some recipients to help Michael Pittman Jr.

Ryan is talented, but it will be difficult for him – and the Colts – to succeed if Ballard does not address these areas, especially with the AFC expected to be even more competitive next season.

“I’m pretty good to say [Ryan] probably has two good years, ”Orlovsky said. “I think again, when I’m genuine, it’s going to be hard for him to have a really good year if some of the staff questions are not answered. These are very real questions. He can play well, but still get beaten up by an offensive “a line that was not great in passing professional last year and who does not have a left tackle at the moment. How good he will be will be based on how many of the offensive questions are answered.”

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