Chris Ballard and Frank Reich are confident Matt Ryan can stop the Colts QP Carousel

WESTFIELD, Indiana – IN ponies They think they’ve finally found some consistency in the middle.

Matt Ryan The most important position in the game has been stabilized by improving the level of production and leadership in the offensive lead. And since it looks like Ryan will be doing this for at least two years – he’s under contract until 2023 – the Colts should be able to generate some extended momentum, rather than looking for a fresh start in another season.

“Sometimes, I laugh,” said Chris Ballard, general manager of Colts. the athlete. They go, ‘You’ve had all these different guys. “Well, yes, we are trying to get it right. We will keep trying to do it right.”

Ahead of his March 21 deal with Ryan, the 37-year-old made assurances that he was committed to playing after the 2022 season during a two-hour video call with Ballard and coach Frank Reich.

“I had no doubt that this guy had a strong mind to play – and to play for as long as possible,” Ballard said.

Early returns were encouraging. Reich and Ryan began collaborating upon his arrival, with the quarterback insisting on opening up the setup process by learning Reich’s offense. Next, he wanted to hear Reich’s plan on how to combine their strengths.

Reich, offensive coordinator Markus Brady, quarterback coach Scott Milanovic and passing specialist Parks Frazier outline Ryan’s strengths through extensive cinematic work.

“It’s a process of give and take,” Reich said. the athlete. “I really respect Matt, and I immediately opened the door and said this would be a co-op. We’ll study your film and talk about what you like. He was like: ‘Great, I appreciate that, but let me learn to insult you first, and then I’ll give you my thoughts. Then we can talk about my film.'” So that’s what we did. We gave him our insult – put it with him in the off season.

“Then, while we were going… we talk to him about what works for us, what works one-to-one, and what fits perfectly that we can tweak a little bit. As coaches, we love that, to talk to a great midfielder about good offensive football and how we will continue to build our system and collaborate. in doing so together.”

And to think, that wasn’t nearly the way to go.

The Indy QB circuit started spinning in August 2019 when Andrew Luck suddenly retired. to support Jacobi Brisset That season filled in before the Colts landed Phillip Rivers in 2020. But Rivers retired after a season on top – earlier than the colts initially expected – and the colts were traded for Carson WentzThinking back to the familiar Reichs system could revive his career.

Wentz was not fit, and the Colts after the season decided to move in another direction. They weren’t sure where it would lead.

The Colts agreed to trade Wentz for leaders on March 9, and they monitored the sight of a quarterback from there. Once it became clear, Ryan was finished with hawkswho sought to trade Deshaun WatsonThe ponies felt they had their man.

“To say we had a plan ready to fix the situation without a doubt (putting a quarterback after the Wentz trade), no we didn’t, but we also knew there were options, and we knew we’d be very patient,” Ballard said. “We’re not just going to rush to sign anyone. With midfielders who would have been out on free agency, keeping an eye on what happens with Deshaun and where he might end up, we came up with a good choice when all was said and done. We were lucky that Matt was that choice. “.

He was the right man for us. He was the right man from a leadership standpoint, suited our offensive scheme and thinking from a philosophy standpoint, then just skill. In my opinion, he was the best man out there. We didn’t know he was going to be available, so he wasn’t It’s as if we were targeting him. As soon as he was available, we had a bull’s eye on him. Matt just fell into our arms, and Chris Ballard was given a lot of credit. He didn’t flinch. He and I had a conversation with Mr. (Jim) Ersay. The three of us said it was Our man, so let’s do whatever we have to do to get it done.”

Ryan seems like a clear upgrade over Wentz. The Colts ranked 27 in passing yards last season and missed the playoffs – thanks to back-to-back losses at the end of the season – despite having a second-best rushing attack and scoring defense at ninth.

They ranked 11th in passing yards with Rivers in 2020, 30th with Brissett in 2019 and sixth with Lake in 2018. And very clearly, with an effective midfielder, this offense leads to pass success. And with running backwards Jonathan Taylor And high expectations for the defense, Ryan may be the missing piece bringing the Colts back to the playoffs, having scored just one win over the past seven seasons.

Ryan finished in the top six in assists every season from 2012 to 2020, although he slipped to 11th in 2021. He had some shortcomings, sure, but the attacking Hawks had plenty of other issues as well.

Ryan and the ponies seemed to find each other in time.

“(Ryan’s presence) settles down on everyone — like, ‘Hey, this is a guy we can count on,’” Reich said. “He’s been doing this for 14 years at a high level. He kind of fell into our lap, and we’re going to take advantage of it. He has a wonderful mentality. His passion for the game is as high as it can be. Physically, we don’t see any skills diminishing, so we take it one year at a time. We think that’s several years at the level we think he can play and lead us as a team. We are very excited about that.

It was great. It was smooth. He is a leader, such a professional, a coach on the field, all those things you hear about guys like these. He is the example. Guys feel his experience. They feel his leadership. It’s a really good occasion….He’s the right guy at the right time for us, and we feel very fortunate to have him. I’m looking forward to this season.”

And if all goes according to plan, it should extend beyond this season, thus opening the Colts window as a contender. They haven’t had the same yardage leading middle for back-to-back seasons since luck from 2012 to 2016.

He could take down one of the greatest pony quests since Lack’s retirement.

“Now getting Matt, who we think doesn’t have much left, how much time, I don’t know,” Ballard said. “But being able to add some consistency is something that we strive for and continue to work on.”

(Photo by Matt Ryan and Frank Reich: Zach Bollinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)