INDIANAPOLIS – Jeff Saturday feels the Matt Ryan gives the Colts the best chance to win football games.
And, if true, that’s quite the indictment on the state of the 2022 Colts with four games left in the season.
Saturday said the Colts (4-8-1) will be sticking with Ryan after the bye week, with the hope the 37-year-old remains the starter for the remainder of the season.
“Like I told everybody, the focus of this is to win games,” Saturday explained on Monday as the Colts returned from the bye week. “And so we all got to go play better, but Matt’s no different He has to play better than he did last week, if we have any shot to win. So you hope that he goes and answers that call and meets expectation goes and plays as well as you can.”
Saturday said he did go back last week and chat with Ryan about the quarterback’s health. Ryan dealt with a separated right shoulder back in October, which sidelined him from practicing for two weeks.
“When (Ryan) and I have had that discussion, he’s told me he feels good,” Saturday says. “His arm feels fresh, no fatigue, no issue from the injury and that no play is being affected because of it.”
Ryan has committed an NFL-worst 18 turnovers, leading the league in interceptions thrown (13), fumbles (14) and fumbles lost (5).
While those numbers are eye-popping, Saturday doesn’t feel they tell the whole story.
“Here’s the reality is you can’t put all of them on him,” Saturday said of the league-high turnovers from Ryan. “And if you go back and watch the tape, which I’ve done a number of times over these past four, four or five days that I’ve had off, not all of them can be attributed just to the quarterback, whether it’s the receivers or whether it’s the back, whether it’s the tight end guys being where they’re supposed to be the expectations of the quarterback, it all fits pressure being there, whether it’s from the offensive line or the running back, or the tight in the timing of the play. There’s been a number of different things. And again, you want to attribute all those to one guy and if I could, that would be an easy position to change and make a big dent and all of a sudden now you think you’ve made the team with no warts but that’s not the case.
“I feel like Matt has continued to give us the best chance and unfortunately we keep turning the ball over but it’s not just on him. It’s on a number of different guys. And again, those are those are the details that we talk about being able to move it from the practice field to the game field is making sure that guy knows where you’re supposed to be and that you’re going to be there on time and then him putting the ball in the right place matters position of the ball, not just throwing it to the right guy, but putting the ball out in the right spot. So everybody has had their fair share of screw ups to cause these things. We got to get it fixed collectively as well.”
Nick Foles will continue to the backup, per Saturday.
That means the Sam Ehlinger experiment in 2022 could last just 2 games of starting action, with him a healthy inactive for the majority of the season. That brings into question on how the Colts should view Ehlinger as he heads into this 3rd NFL season.
Playing Ryan does run the risk of the Colts owing him even more money for the 2023 season.
Remember, the 37-year-old Ryan is under contract through 2023, already has $12 million guaranteed for next season. He has bonuses of $10 million (roster bonus) and $7.2 million (salary) waiting, with those becoming guarantees if Ryan gets hurt.
Without question, Ryan’s velocity and throwing with necessary anticipation has waned as the physical toll and hits have added up this season.
Still though, Saturday continues to be steadfast in going with him under center, despite the persistent issues.
The Colts have four games remaining this season: at Vikings (12/17), Chargers (12/26), at Giants (1/1) and Texans (1/7 or 1/8).
Ryan and the Colts will face the worst defense in the NFL on Sunday (Vikings allow 403.7 yards per game) and the worst passing defense (allow 7.65 yards per play, which is last in the NFL).