Colts QB Puzzle: What Sam Ellinger Means Replace Matt Ryan

A game that was meant to be a referendum on one quarterback’s decision – Don’t let the door knock you on your way out, Carson Instead, it will serve as a referendum on the dowry’s flawed approach to office for three consecutive years.

Andrew Lack retired in August 2019. Indianapolis still hasn’t figured out what’s next.

Because of that, since the Colts have blown their last two swings in the most important position on the field, this is where they sit for eight weeks in a season that never begins: A 24-year-old’s sixth-round demand pick who’s never thrown an NFL pass to spark an attack He is among the worst in the league, a unit that can’t protect, can’t run the ball and can’t stop turning it over.

Good luck, Sam Ellinger.

The Washington captains were in town Sunday for Ehlinger’s debut, a game that early in the season provided a clear and delicious story: Carson Wentz, the QB Colts who was kicked to the curb after last season, will return to Indianapolis to face his old team and, more specifically, owner which he publicly criticized for several months after the trade.

The Ponies were so worried about moving on Wentz, he remembered, that they were willing to cut him and eat $15 million if they had to. In the end they didn’t, because Ron Rivera and the captains offered two third-round runs to get Wentz out of their hands.

Matt Ryan was supposed to be the answer.

Like Wentz, it wasn’t.

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Weeks in the making: Behind the Colts’ decision to appoint Matt Ryan to the bench for Sam Ellinger

The bold decision by the Colts on Monday to install Ryan, who has struggled this season (11 fumbles and nine interceptions) but also had a major role in three wins coming from behind, looks like a watershed moment for a streak that has been in circles since Luck walked away tonight, It was the breaking point in the endless rental cycle that didn’t exactly get this team anywhere.

This is the first time the foals have openly admitted that this approach has let them down, and that getting younger – and possibly worse in the short term – is the only way they will finally get better. You can just plug and play in the middle for a long time.

In Indianapolis, apparently, the expiration date on this approach is three years. It shouldn’t take that long.

Make no mistake: This decision is less in 2022 than it was in 2025. That’s finally saying the ponies they can’t keep kicking the pack on the road.

For years, I felt that they were taking the sensible approach, refusing to panic and taking a pilot on the young quarterback they weren’t convinced would last. Phillip’s rivers move in 2020 only encouraged them; The 39-year-old Rivers led the Colts to 11 victories and a playoff field, giving coach Frank Reich — who had originally pushed for the signing — the weight he needed a year later when Wentz became available. Reich paid for it, too.

Frank Reich defended the Colts to trade for Carson Wentz, but the Indianapolis quarterback’s tenure only lasted one season. (Trevor Roskowski / USA Today)

The Colts shipped the first and third rounds to Philadelphia, putting any chance they had that spring of taking on an NFL quarterback. If they don’t, who knows? Justin Fields might be wearing a Colts costume now.

“You can’t rush it,” owner Jim Irsai said at the time. “If you try to solve your quarterback in a year and you don’t do it right, you can set your franchise back for 10 years.”

General Manager Chris Ballard echoed: “It’s not (a) exact science.” “Everyone thinks you’re going to take one and you’ll work it out. Look, taking one is going to get you out of my ass a little bit, but the second this guy doesn’t play well, I’ll be the first to run out of the building.”

Colts’ QB Carousel, 2018-2022

year QB register passes. yard TD-INT bags evaluation


Andrew Luck







Jacobi Brisset







Philip Rivers







Carson Wentz







Matt Ryan






That was the thinking in the 24 months after Luck’s departure: The Colts wouldn’t make the mistakes other teams did. They will not panic. They will not arrive.

But the problem with that is finding the right quarterback that requires aggressiveness, especially for a franchise that hasn’t been crafted inside the top five in a decade.

Saying that ponies stuck to the first aid approach is not accurate; Wentz arrived with four years remaining on his contract, two of which are guaranteed, and the initial hope was that he would last for several seasons. But after the terrible end last year, he quit, forcing the Colts to restart a course they thought they were out of.

Likewise, Ryan arrived as a two-year planner, and as recently as April, Irsai was speaking publicly about being in Indianapolis for three or four seasons.

Ryan lost his job seven games in.

He was asked Wednesday if he thought the team had broken his word.

“Listen, I know in this league you have to go out and win games,” Ryan said. “You have to produce, and you have to play well. I don’t see it that way. We’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t play better. I thought we would.”

“But I’m not worried about it. My job this week is to help support (Sam). I’m going to help him in any way I can.”

Looking after the ball has been a problem for Matt Ryan this season. He tied with the NFL team at 11 fails (Mark Lebrick/USA Today)

Ehlinger will become Reich’s sixth coach in five seasons. Dating back to Luck in 2018, the Colts dumped $145 million in cash to 12 players behind their backs, per Spotrac. They have only had knockout roles twice and have no division title to display.

Whether they would admit it or not, the cycle eroded on them: uncertainty every winter, back every spring, ups and downs every fall.

It was just a few weeks ago, after another loss to the Titans, when Naheim Heinz came back and said what the other players were definitely thinking: “Not an excuse, but every year we have a new quarterback. So every year we have growing pains as we sit Here and we’re watching Tennessee, which has been (Ryan) Tunnehill, what, all my career? And every year we reboot and we have to turn the page.”

When asked about that course on Wednesday, Reich responded to the idea that the Colts had spent three years running in place.

“I think it got us somewhere,” he said. “I understand from the outside, it may look like it isn’t. We have developed a roster – we are continuing to develop a roster that we think is a championship roster. So this is part of a double-edged sword because we are close…”


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The list has talent. But if there is one truth in this league it is that the roster without the midfielder is not going anywhere.

The fact that the ponies did not collapse, nor did they collapse to the point that they found themselves choosing in the top five, has already hurt them. The team’s top decision makers won’t say this publicly, but they know it.

Nothing hurts a franchise in the long run like a mediocre level.

“Do you want to take a step back?” Reich continued. “Maybe at some point you have to do it, but that’s the hard part. While Chris and Mr. Irsay and I sit and talk about these things, these are the decisions you have to make every season. I don’t think we’ve been turning our wheels. I think every year we’re learning and getting better. .

“I understand the record goes up and down. Like I said, we’ve won many more games here in four years. We’ve won more than we lost in four years. (Counties 40-31-1 under the Reich.) In some ways, I think we’ve exceeded expectations with everything we’ve been through. It’s when you think about the number of midfielders.”

Reich has a point. Despite having four different quarterbacks during his first four seasons, the Colts finished in the top ten in scoring three times. The one exception was 2019 with Jacoby Brissett, who was pushed into the groundwork after Lack retired 15 days before the season opened.

“She says at 18, how did we do?” Reich said. “In ’19, with the quarterback changing, how did we do? In ’20, how did we do? Where did we fall as far as expectations were? In ’21, and I think if you look at it year after year, I think you can argue that in some ways – in some ways, And not all the ways – we’ve exceeded expectations due to the fact that we have so many midfielders and I’m still able to look and find ways to improve. When Chris and I and Mr. Irsay talk, we’ve been going to win trophies. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Now the fate of the 2022 season rests with the unproven Ellinger.

This team feels as far from a championship as ever under Reich.

Offense ranks 29th in scoring, while running ranks 30th. The team averaged only 5.5 points in the first half of this season and ceded the second most sacks (24) and most QB hits (80) in the league.

Maybe Ehlinger is giving them a spark. Getting the yardage is probably easier – same with bottom-to-bottom transfers. But it is fair to ask if any midfielder can excel behind this offensive line. The consensus in the locker room Wednesday, two days after Reich shared the decision with the players?

The surprise did not fade. This team was behind Ryan, and the news was hard to digest.

“You are not upset, but you love, dangHeinz said, choosing his words carefully. “Unfortunate. The circumstances are really unfortunate. I love Matt to death. We love Sam, but it’s annoying how things happened for us to get to this place.”

Center Ryan Kelly, who has noted that he will move to his eighth quarterback since arriving here in 2016, provided a similar feeling.

“I think everyone has their own opinions on this,” Kelly said. “I’m not going into my country, but yeah, sure, I think everyone is surprised.

“I have no choice but to get close to these guys. My locker is next to the (QBs). It’s been like this since I got here. Yeah, that sucks. Big time sucks. But it’s week eight, man. Freaking the NFL fly by. So, you know, if you sit down and take control, and if you just want to (hang) your head and throw the white flag, of course you can do it. But we’ll play the game no matter what.”

Sam Ehlinger’s move may add more wrinkles to Sunday’s Colts attack against the Leaders. (Gregory Fisher/USA Today)

This is the other layer in all of this: the belief of some that dowries be Waving a white flag, they watch the season and hope to pick a better draft so they can solve the mystery of the quarterback once and for all. Internally, this is not the approach. They think they have the pieces to fix this, and Ehlinger’s ability, with his ability to move a bit more in the pocket, could give them something they’ve been missing.

“He’s like, look, man, we can help him play really well, and if we help him play really well, that changes his life forever,” Haynes said, speaking for the racing quarterback. “If he plays well, his life changes. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. We will not be the reason for his failure.”

Reich, besieged as he has been this season, isn’t rolling over. On the other hand, no head coach should have to switch between six starters in five years. On the other hand, Reich’s hands are dirty in this too; He pushed for Wentz’s trade backfiring, costing them a first-round pick and forcing them to restart the course.

What he has now is another chance, with odds as long as they’ve been around since he took office: he has to pick the overlooked and unproven sixth round and help him save the season.

“Anyone who knows Sam knows he made moments like this, right?” Reich said. “Is he going in and being the top offensive player this week? I’m not saying that. Is he going to have growing pains? Sure, he’s going to have growing pains, but I can tell you this for sure: nobody’s waving the white flag. That’s not in the DNA. It’s It’s not in my DNA. It’s not in our players’ genes. I’ll never do that in a million years. I just can’t do it.”

From Luck to Brissett to Rivers to Wentz to Ryan to Ehlinger, the carousel continues.

Say this a lot to this franchise: It keeps it fun.

(Top image: Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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