Matt Ryan is the latest marquee quarterback to move into a winning streak now.
The latter two – Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford – won the Lombardi Trophies in their first years with their new teams. Ryan hopes his transfer from Atlanta to Indianapolis will pay off in the same way.
“You talk about Tom Brady or Peyton (Manning) or any of those guys, they had times where they had to transition and both had huge success with that,” Ryan said during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. “Deep down, that’s what I’m thinking about right now. This opportunity that I have for the rest of my career to catch that spark and go.
“I’m coming into a building that’s been extremely well laid out and a roster that’s been put together to win, and they’ve done a great job of putting that together. I’m so excited to get to work and be able to go out there with these guys and try to do my part to help this team win as many games as possible.”
Despite the constant deterioration of the Falcons around him, Ryan maintained a level of quality performance that should help elevate the Colts. Ryan has thrown for over 4,000 passing yards in 10 of his last 11 seasons, and it took him losing Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones while also relying on a tight rookie (Kyle Pitts) to fall below 4000. yards in 2021 for the first time since 2010.
Opponents will shout “Ryan is in decline!” But the gang isn’t lying – Ryan can still launch a team to success, provided they have the proper support.
He will find such support in Indianapolis, where the Colts still have a strong offensive line and phenomenal running back in Jonathan Taylor. Throw in Nyheim Hines, Michael Pittman, a healthy Parris Campbell, Mo Alie-Cox and speedster Ashton Dulin, and Ryan has a few tools he can work with.
It should also not be forgotten that with approximately one month remaining in the 2021 regular season, Indianapolis was considered a Super Bowl contender as long as Carson Wentz played adequately. Their late-season slump and resulting absence from the playoffs was shocking because of its magnitude, and also because of its unexpectedness.
Playing a quality quarterback can alleviate most, if not all, of the issues that sent the Colts into the offseason and prompted owner Jim Irsay to deliver a passionate message to his club’s fans from the tarmac.
Ryan knows that, which is why he was happy to leave the only franchise he knows for a new opportunity in Indianapolis.
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind week, for sure, on my end,” Ryan said. “I guess, yeah, at this time last week, we didn’t know how it was going to be. … I’m not naive. I understand how this business works and that there’s going to be some movement.
“From the time it started last week until we were here today, I thought everyone was handling things professionally. I didn’t like everything I heard, but you don’t don’t always like what you hear sometimes. But we are professional and I handled it very well. I knew that at some point I was going to have to decide if I wanted to stay. Looking closer, I I knew there was only one place I wanted to go. There was no doubt that if I had to make a move, that’s exactly where I wanted to be.”
Now Ryan has the chance to follow Brady and Stafford on a path to glory. Reaching the end will be up to him and the rest of the Colts, including general manager Chris Ballard, who acquired Ryan but still has some work to do to complete this offseason. But if all goes according to plan, maybe Ryan will be just what the Colts needed to ride out the bump in 2022 — and bring the quarterback back to the Super Bowl for the second time in his career.
“The roadmap looks really good,” Ryan said. “What Matthew Stafford did in Los Angeles last year, playing that transition so well, and what Tom (Brady) did, I saw firsthand in the division the year before, I ‘hope we bottle some of that momentum and we can do a push here. I really believe we could. … I think we can, like I said, take this continuing trend and make it work for us.