‘Disappointed’ Matt Ryan ready to accept Colts’ backup role
Matt Ryan is a backup quarterback for the first time in his 15-season NFL career and it isn’t a tag he’s thrilled about.
Ryan met with reporters Wednesday, two days after learning he was being demoted by the Indianapolis Colts, and said he was disappointed but will embrace the role as the understudy to unproven Sam Ehlinger.
Ryan sustained a separated passing shoulder during last Sunday’s 19-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans but the Colts made it clear that it was performance and not the injury that derailed Ryan’s stint as the team’s starting quarterback.
“As a player, as a competitor, you want to be out there, you want to go,” Ryan said. “It’s part of the deal in this league, you got to produce and you gotta go out there and play. Frustrated that we weren’t able to do that in the first seven games. You move forward.
“Life in this league is week to week and production has to be there. Obviously disappointed personally, but here for the team.”
Ryan, 37, was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason and was supposed to end the Indianapolis quarterback carousel that followed Andrew Luck’s stunning retirement shortly before the 2019 season.
Instead, the move has been a colossal mistake as Ryan has thrown nine interceptions to go with three fumbles (losing one), and he has been sacked 24 times. He has passed for 2,008 yards and nine touchdowns.
“Obviously it hasn’t been the level of production we all would’ve wanted,” Ryan said. “I would’ve liked to play a lot better, too. We’re still seven games into it and there’s a long way to go, but I appreciate everybody taking ownership and I’ve tried to do that myself as well.”
Ryan passed for 3,968 yards for the Falcons last season after topping 4,000 in the each of the previous 10 campaigns. He had 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
But the Colts studied Ryan and confidently felt he was the right guy to replace 2021 starter Carson Wentz.
Instead, second-year pro Ehlinger, a sixth-round pick in 2021, will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Washington Commanders.
“I love Sam,” Ryan said. “He’s been awesome from the minute I got here. I just told him, any way I can help, you let me know. As a player you gotta go out there and cut it loose and go play your game. Everybody’s individual game is different, go play yours and he’ll do a good job for us.
“… My job this week is to help support Sam, get my shoulder right and help him any way that I can.”
Veteran Nick Foles will back up Ehlinger on Sunday.
Ryan ranks seventh in NFL history with 61,743 passing yards and ninth with 376 touchdown passes.
–Field Level Media