New Colts QB Matt Ryan hopes to follow paths of Brady, Stafford in pursuit of Super Bowl

Matt Ryan is the latest big-name quarterback to move to a win-now situation.

The last two – Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford – took home Lombardi trophies in their first years with their new teams. Ryan is hoping his shift from Atlanta to Indianapolis will pay off similarly.

“You talk about Tom Brady or Peyton (Manning) or any of those guys, they’ve had times where they’ve had to transition and both of them have had tremendous success with that,” Ryan said during his introductory news conference Tuesday. “In the back of my mind, 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 has been set up extremely well and a roster that has been set up to win, and they’ve done a great job of putting that together. I am so fired up to get to work and be able to get on the field with these guys and try to do my part to help this team win as many games as we can. “

Despite the Falcons steadily worsening around him, Ryan has maintained a quality level of performance that should help elevate the Colts. Ryan has thrown for 4,000-plus passing yards in 10 of his last 11 seasons, and it took him losing Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones while also leaning on a rookie tight end (Kyle Pitts) to fall shy of 4,000 yards in 2021 for the first time since 2010.

The naysayers will shout “Ryan is in decline!” But the tape doesn’t lie – Ryan can still throw a team to success, provided he has adequate support.

He’ll find such support in Indianapolis, where the Colts still boast a strong offensive line and a phenomenal running back in Jonathan Taylor. Add in Nyheim Hines, Michael Pittman, a healthy Parris Campbell, Mo Alie-Cox and speedster Ashton Dulin, and Ryan has some tools with which he can work.

One musn’t also forget that with about a month remaining in the 2021 regular season, Indianapolis was seen as a Super Bowl contender as long as Carson Wentz played adequately. Their late-season collapse and resulting absence from the playoffs was shocking because of its magnitude, and also because of how unexpected it was.

Bringing in quality quarterback play can alleviate most, if not all of the issues that sent the Colts to the offseason and drove owner Jim Irsay to deliver an impassioned message to his club’s supporters from a tarmac.

Ryan knows this, which is why he was happy to leave the only franchise he’s known for a new opportunity in Indianapolis.

“It’s definitely been a whirlwind of a week, for sure, on my end,” Ryan said. “I suppose, yeah, this time last week we didn’t know how it was going to shake out.… I’m not naive. I understand how this business works, and that there’s going to be movement.

“At the time it started last week until we’re sitting here today, I thought everybody handled things professionally. I didn’t like everything I heard, but you don’t always like what you hear sometimes. But we’re professional and handled it really well. I knew at some point I was gonna need to make a decision on whether I wanted to stay. As I looked into it, I knew there was only one spot I wanted to go. There was no doubt that if I were to make a move this is exactly where I wanted to be. “

Now, Ryan gets a chance to follow Brady and Stafford on a path of 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 work to complete this offseason. But if all goes according to plan, perhaps Ryan will be exactly who the Colts needed to get over the hump in 2022 – and return the quarterback to the Super Bowl for just the second time in his career.

“The road map looks really good,” Ryan said. “What Matthew Stafford did in LA last year, making that transition playing so well, and what Tom (Brady) did, I saw that firsthand in the division the year before, hopefully we bottle up some of that momentum and we can make a push here. I really believe we could.… I think we can, like I said, ride that trend that’s been going on and make it work for us. “

Leave a Comment