INDIANAPOLIS – Pressure in the NFL is always alive.
Varying degrees of that pressure is following the AFC South favorite Colts this coming season.
Here are my 6 Colts with the most to prove in 2022:
Matt Ryan: Every starting quarterback is going to show up on their respective team’s ‘prove it’ list. But Matt Ryan does need to prove what he has left at the age of 37. Were the winning issues in Atlanta around Ryan, and not because Father Time has started to creep into the 15-year vet? Ryan hasn’t experienced a winning season/playoff appearance since 2017. He needs to prove there’s above-average QB play that can also guide a team into January.
Parris Campbell: This one is obvious. When injuries have sidelined you for 34 of 49 career games, your health is going to be a major question. Contractually, Parris Campbell is also in the final year of his rookie contract. If Campbell is going to sniff a second contract in Indy, he must be substantially more available. Campbell has yet to play half of the games in a season. In college, Campbell was very healthy. But that has not been the case in the professional ranks.
Matt Pryor: Man, the Colts would really benefit from Matt Pryor putting to rest any left tackle questions entering 2022. Ironically, Pryor has to prove himself as a left tackle in the NFL. It’s pretty rare to see a 4-year vet like Pryor earning the belief from a staff that he can project as a starting left tackle. Pryor has two career starts at left tackle and didn’t play there in college either. First, Pryor must beat out rookie Bernhard Raimann for the left tackle job.
Kwity Paye: Based off where Kwity Paye was drafted, it was a quieter rookie season than was expected. A hamstring injury did hinder some of that. On-field production for Paye is expected to increase in 2022, with the arrival of Yannick Ngakoue aiding things. Remember, the oft-traveled Ngakoue is in a contract year so his future being in Indy isn’t a lock. It would do wonders for the Colts if Paye showed to be a double-digit sack guy moving forward.
Kenny Moore: You don’t often see a first-time Pro Bowler from the previous year fall on a ‘prove it’ list the next season. But the main reason why Kenny Moore appears on this list is because of how he believes his contract situation doesn’t reflect the type of player he is for the Colts. Moore sat out a portion of the spring program. When asked about his training camp participation at the conclusion of the spring minicamp, Moore didn’t rule out the idea of sitting out at Grand Park. While doing so would be a surprise, Moore needs to prove this season he is one of the top cornerbacks in the league, with a defensive change here in 2022.
Frank Reich: Despite playing in (arguably) the easiest division in football, the Colts have yet to win an AFC South crown in Frank Reich’s 4 seasons as head coach. They have won one playoff game under Reich. And Reich receives the brunt of the blame for the one-year failed project that was Carson Wentz. While the in-building pressure from Jim Irsay probably isn’t too high for Reich, the head coach should have more attention on him to have his team experience winning the division + January success. For a roster having a league-high 7 Pro Bowlers last year, it was inexcusable for them to be watching the postseason from the couch.