The Indianapolis Colts have been hoping to return to the Super Bowl for more than a decade. Andrew Luck, although an excellent quarterback in his own right, sadly faced too many injuries and couldn’t quite get the Colts back to a title.
Indianapolis might have an answer in longtime Atlanta Falcon-and now Indianapolis Colt-Matt Ryan.
Bill Polian, a former NFL General Manager, Team President, and current Contributor to The 33rd Team, weighed in on the new QB.
“He’s an experienced guy, he’s a highly competitive guy, he’s not had a lot of injuries in his career, and his arm is still good,” Polian said. “He can still throw the ball. His head, his processing, his leadership – it’s off the charts. And he brings with him a gravitas that they have not had at that position since Peyton’s been there.”
Ryan is reportedly already blowing away coaches and teammates in camp and has quickly established himself as a key leader for Indianapolis.
Polian is hearing of similarities between Ryan and Indianapolis Colts’ Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. “[Current Indianapolis Colts wide receivers coach] Reggie Wayne said, “This is scary. He’s like, Peyton. Just like the same guy in terms of how he conducts himself and how he prepares and what he’s demanding of the team. This is a real, bona fide leader.”
Matt Ryan is not getting any younger and is not necessarily a long-term answer at quarterback for the Colts in the way we would refer to Justin Herbert or Patrick Mahomes.
But that said, according to Polian: “the end game for the Colts is a team that is ready to compete for the whole megillah.”
When we acquired Jacoby Brissett in 2017 while I was in Indianapolis, he was not fully prepared to start for us.
We acquired him late in the offseason. He missed out on OTAs and training camp with us and had basically a week with us to learn and digest our playbook. He took it all in stride, and that’s part of why I believe he’ll be successful with the Cleveland Browns in the six games he will start due to Deshaun Watson’s suspension.
Unlike his time in Indianapolis, Jacoby will have had that time in Cleveland. He’s been there since March. With Baker Mayfield not practicing with the team and Watson’s status up in the air, Jacoby has had most, if not all, of those reps. He’s had time to learn the system and build chemistry with his teammates.
Jacoby is a phenomenal, phenomenal teammate. His energy and competitive toughness when he was with us on the Colts were both striking, and he’ll certainly have brought that with him to Cleveland.
From a talent perspective, he can really do it all. He’s got an NFL-caliber arm. He can hit all the windows on the field. He’s mobile. He’s smart. Jacoby’s started 37 games in the NFL and he’s seen it all during those starts. That will only help him during this six-game stretch.
The best thing is that, while Jacoby is talented, he doesn’t have to do it all. The Browns have built a talented roster. They run the ball extremely well with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Kevin Stefanski does a great job scheming and drawing those receivers open. He’ll do a good job of putting Brissett in the best possible position to win. Pair that with an elite offensive line and weapons on the outside like Amari Cooper and David Njoku and this offense is ready to help Jacoby shoulder the load. With a defense with top-5 potential, the Browns have built a team capable of ensuring they can win these six games while Watson is suspended.
When Jacoby Brissett was our starter, we went 4-12, but he gave us a chance in every game—we just didn’t have the roster around him to do so.
In Cleveland, he has the roster to succeed as a starting quarterback.
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