The current state of the Indianapolis Colts is quite a mess, and it’s quickly become clear that general manager Chris Ballard’s experiments with veteran quarterbacks aren’t working. It’s time for the Colts to start thinking about drafting a quarterback.
Despite beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, Indianapolis is still just 1-2-1 so far this season, and the Colts don’t deserve all that much credit for a win that had much more to do with Kansas City’s special teams gaffes. The defense has been alright—though linebacker Shaquille Leonard and defensive end Tyquan Lewis were just banged up—but the offense has been absolutely abysmal. Running back Jonathan Taylor hasn’t been nearly as productive as he was last season, the offensive line is playing poorly, the receiver situation is still a bit of a mess and the Matt Ryan-at-quarterback experiment has been a tremendous failure thus far.
What makes the quarterback situation in particular so baffling is that it’s the third time the Colts are trying to execute the exact same formula that failed them twice before. Since Andrew Luck’s unexpected retirement ahead of the 2019 season, Indianapolis has trotted out veteran quarterback after veteran quarterback instead of trying their hand at drafting a younger talent. Ryan is the third different veteran in the last three years to start under center for the Colts in Week 1 after Philip Rivers in 2020 and Carson Wentz in 2021. Since the 2019 season—which we’ll actually give Indianapolis a pass for given just how close in proximity to the regular season Luck’s retirement was—the Colts’ record is 21-15-1 with a loss in their only playoff appearance (2020).
The time is past for everyone to keep giving Indianapolis and Ballard a pass for mediocrity in the post-Luck era. It has been more than three years since Luck announced his retirement and the Colts have done nothing with their quarterback situation but put into practice what many people call the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This year, with an underperforming offensive line and running back and nearly immobile, 37-year-old quarterback, they’re paying for it in a big way.
Ryan is having a brutal start to his 15th year in the NFL, already on pace to throw more interceptions and take more sacks than he ever has. He’s already fumbled nine times this year, just three short of his career-high 12 in 2015. Part of all of that is the fact that he’s being pressured on 26% of his dropbacks, the second-highest rate in his career since Pro Football Focus started tracking that metric in 2018, only second to last year’s 27.9% clip.
With a lack of solid receiving talent around him as well, Ryan is also on pace for the lowest passer rating he’s had in a season since his second year as a pro. Most importantly, he isn’t winning games or even helping give the team a real chance to compete. Indianapolis ranks dead last in the NFL in scoring offense.
After three years of trying and failing to be competitive with two different aging, past-his-prime quarterbacks and another that just was never very good, the Colts will be stuck as a consistently mediocre team with no vision for the future unless their philosophy changes. They need to draft a young quarterback next year, a new face that can help Indianapolis build a vision for their offense and the future of their franchise from the ground up. The current system is not working and will clearly never work, and it really shouldn’t have taken Ballard and the Colts this long to figure that out in the first place.
- Dec 07, 2022
- Dec 07, 2022