The Indianapolis Colts had an up-and-down 2021 NFL season. They started slowly, got hot and peaked in the middle of the season and then ended on a low note again, which resulted in missing the postseason. The Week 18 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars was an inexcusable one and resulted in some big changes this offseason.
The biggest came at the quarterback position, where Carson Wentz was replaced. He was traded to the Washington Commanders while the Colts acquired Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons.
This will be the seventh consecutive season that Indianapolis has a different quarterback under center in Week 1 than they did the previous season. 2012-2016, when Andrew Luck was the starting quarterback, was the last time the team had the same player lead the team in passing in consecutive seasons as well.
That is something the team is hoping changes with Ryan in town. With expected improvements at the quarterback position, the Colts could be a dark horse for the Super Bowl. Ryan is ensuring that he and his teammates are in the best position to succeed, as he is holding them to a standard they haven’t previously had in camp.
Head coach Frank Reich commented on how fast the team was practicing, as Ryan has them playing with urgency and tempo. If you are not doing that during the dog days of the summer, how can you expect to be ready for it in the heat of the moment during the regular season? Ryan recently commented on it as well.
“Look, we’re here to set a standard in how we operate and pull the best out of each other. I expect the same from these guys too. When I need a kick in the ass, they have to let me know it. The good teams that I’ve been on have been like that. It’s the players holding each other accountable to be at their best. But I do think part of that role is that it’s not necessarily calling people out, but calling them up. It’s calling them up to a [higher] level.”
Some people have described Ryan as a jerk, but that is something he is okay with. He was brought in to help the Colts win a championship and that is what he is solely focused on.
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That level of attention is what has endeared him to so many teammates. Nyheim Hines described how Ryan captivates the room when he talks.
“I can’t describe it. You just get chills,” Hines said. “He starts talking to us, and you just look at him and go ‘OK, this guy is about to lead us to a championship.’”
Quizzes in the hallway are a regular thing from Ryan according to tight end Mo Alie-Cox, as he wants to ensure his teammates are as prepared as possible. He has even garnered some comparisons to Peyton Manning for how he carries himself.
Getting compared to one of the all-time greats in any capacity is a good thing. For the Colts, they are hoping Ryan can replicate the success that Manning had on the field as well.
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