Matt Ryan is the latest flavor-of-the-month at quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, the savior of the moment.
A year after Carson Wentz filled the role. Two years after Philip Rivers filled the role.
Since Ryan, as well as he has played over 14 seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, is 36, it is uncertain how long he will be entrusted with the controls of the Indianapolis offense. This is not exactly building around Joe Burrow.
A one-time star at Boston College, Ryan spent 14 years with the Falcons, while never taking a snap for another NFL team. He has thrown for 59,773 yards and 367 career touchdowns and was MVP of the league in 2016.
The Colts picked Ryan up for a 2022 third-round draft pick, which in the NFL marketplace makes for a very admirable deal pulled off by Colts leadership, which was running low on options to round up a Wentz replacement.
Ryan wanted to play for the Colts. He expressed significant respect for general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich.
“It’s bittersweet for sure,” Ryan said this week in describing his own comings and goings. “I’m really appreciative of my time there (Atlanta). It’s sad to see it end, but I’m so excited to see what can happen here. What this team and organization is all about. It’s a real exciting day for me and my family.”
At this time a year ago, the Colts and Wentz were all in on a fresh start. Wentz rubbed some in the organization wrong by refusing to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and he was dancing around difficulties created by minor injuries. Then, over the closing weeks of the season, Wentz could not carry Indy to one more critical win to reach the playoffs.
Even though Wentz’s stats were respectable, he struck some as tone deaf. That was pretty much reinforced when after he was traded for draft picks recently, he said he was “definitely surprised” to be shipped out of Indianapolis.
After looking smart on Rivers two years ago when he was on the verge of retirement and having him carry the Colts into the playoffs before signing off, the Ryan move smacks of a repeat maneuver.
It seems as if the Colts have been in quarterback collecting mode since they shipped Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos. Then Andrew Luck abruptly retired early and Jacoby Brissett proved he was a reliable second-string leader, but no better.
The only other QB the Colts had around all of last season was rookie Sam Ehlinger, a sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Texas. Ehlinger appeared in three games and didn’t even get to throw a pass, an indication of the organization’s long-term faith.
The acquisition of Ryan aside, the Colts would be wise to draft another quarterback of the future in the upcoming draft.
Ryan could well be the Indianapolis answer for a couple of years and although he says he is healthy and would like to emulate Tom Brady’s aging fitness, we are all so often reminded there is only one Tom Brady.
If Ryan can also lead the Colts until he is 44, all of the world’s bows will turn his way.