Quarterback Matt Ryan has the reputation as one of the most professional quarterbacks in recent NFL history. He is adding to that reputation as the Indianapolis Colts transition to Sam Ehlinger behind center.
Despite the Colts announcing their plans to bench Ryan the rest of the season in favor of a sixth-round signal caller that’s never played previously, Ryan has remained very positive and said all the right things in front of the media.
He’s even gone above and beyond. Ehlinger told the media on October 26 that after head coach Frank Reich told them about the quarterback change, Ryan delivered a strong message to Ehlinger.
“I’ve got your back, no matter what happens.”
Ehlinger Praises Working With Ryan, Nick Foles
It’s comments like that that make it very unsurprising that Ehlinger has only positive things to say about working with Ryan (and Foles).
In an era where star quarterbacks often reportedly feel threatened by younger signal callers behind them on the depth chart and/or refuse to mentor their potential replacements, by all accounts, Ryan has been nothing but a class act to Ehlinger.
That’s allowed Ehlinger to prepare for his big moment, which comes when he makes his first NFL start on October 30 against the Washington Commanders.
“Regardless of when the opportunity was gonna come, I was gonna be ready, and that’s alleviated a lot of the stress,” Ehlinger said. “I mean, I can’t imagine if I weren’t preparing the way that I was, and it’s like, ‘Hey, you’re up.’”
Ryan has not only assisted Ehlinger in his preparation for his first real opportunity, but his message this week makes it clear that he will be there for him through the highs and lows that will inevitably come during his first few weeks as an NFL starting quarterback.
“I love Sam. He’s been awesome since the day I got here,” Ryan said. “My job shifts now — now I gotta do everything I can to help him. He’s gonna do great for us.”
Ryan Takes Accountability for Poor Play
A change at the top of the quarterback depth chart can be awkward for a lot of reasons. But Ryan is working to not only make the transition easy on Ehlinger but the rest of the Colts organization.
When the media asked Ryan on October 26 whether the Colts did enough to make him fit in their offense, he took accountability for not playing well in the first seven weeks.
“Coming in, I thought we had enough,” Ryan said. “You don’t know how things are gonna shake out.
“I would’ve like to play a lot better. I appreciate everybody taking ownership, and I’ve tried to do that myself as well.”
During the press conference where Colts head coach Frank Reich made the quarterback switch public, he shared how he told Ryan that the team played a role in the offense’s struggles.
“I told this to Matt (Ryan), ‘Hey Matt, we did not hold up to our end of the bargain. You came here and we promised you a top-NFL rushing game and we promised you great protection and we haven’t really, as an offense, delivered on that,’ and that really starts with me,” said Reich.
While that’s probably a nice thing for Ryan to hear, one could argue the veteran quarterback is still the only one that’s taken real ownership of his failures. Ryan’s the only one who’s performed poorly for the Colts this season who has lost his job.
But that’s not going to stop him from helping Ehlinger and the team make a playoff push in 2022.