Finding a starting quarterback has been a consistent challenge for the Indianapolis Colts since Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement in 2019. The Colts are going into Week 1 of the season with their sixth different starting quarterback to start the season in six years, with Matt Ryan the latest attempt at finding a franchise quarterback.
Ryan has certainly impressed the Colts in the early stages of training camp, particularly with how he’s running practice. Teams can’t contact long practices due to the CBA, but Ryan found a way to make camp practices productive in a short amount of time.
The Colts are ending practice early because of Ryan.
“We had the same number of plays like we had in the past, but we actually finished ten minutes earlier both days with the same number of plays we’ve had in previous years, and that’s because of the quarterback. That’s because the quarterback is pushing the tempo,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said Thursday. “It should be noticeable to you guys too but like we have the exact same amount of plays and two days in a row – we have never practiced that fast.”
Ryan certainly has the experience to run the up-tempo offense the Colts desire. He has thrown for 59,735 passing yards in his career, the eighth-most in NFL history. He needs 4,354 yards to surpass Ben Roethlisberger for fifth in NFL history, which he could reach during the 2022 season. Ryan’s 367 passing touchdowns are ninth all time, 83 behind Aaron Rodgers for fifth. He needs just 33 touchdown passes to become the eighth player to reach 400 for his career.
Ryan has the most passing yards through a player’s first 14 seasons in league history. Ryan and Drew Brees are the only players to have 10 consecutive seasons of 4,000 yards passing. The stats and success in his 14 seasons are part of the reason why the Colts quarterback has taken command of his new team.
This isn’t Ryan’s first rodeo.
“It’s a mentality, it’s a confidence. It’s a we’ve got to get up and play. We are dictating the tempo from the huddle to the ball and we are going,” Reich said. “You know he came in talking about that and he told me at the start, he said, ‘I’m going to push the tempo,’ and I said ‘We’ll follow your lead. Go.’ That is what we have done.”
“I mean as a play-caller you want to put the players in the best position. But quarterback, he’s the field general out there so when you’ve got a guy with Matt’s (Ryan) experience, and you can kind of say, ‘Hey, here is what we want but trust your instincts. When you see it, call it. Don’t hesitate, don’t flinch. Do what you have done your whole career. Let us help give the toolbox that you can go to. Let’s talk about what toolbox we are going to go into when we want to make those calls.’
“We want to talk through that and that’s the fun part of it though. He is doing that. You can feel that already. He is doing a great job.”