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In New QB Matt Ryan, Colts Are Getting a ‘Fierce Competitor and Strong Leader’

NFL: Washington Football Team at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After weeks of speculation on who the Colts’ starting QB would be in 2022, fans and others finally got the answer when Indy traded a 2023 third-round pick for former Atlanta Falcons’ QB, Matt Ryan.

Ryan, who’s soon to be 37, joins a Colts team that was on the cusp of back-to-back playoff berths before a late-season collapse stifled the team’s promising 2021 season.

For the Colts, it was about finding the right QB that would give the organization a chance to compete for the AFC South, which is what led to the trade for the former league MVP.

Jeanna Thomas of SBNation’s The Falcoholic has been covering Ryan for the last 12 years, and she provided insight into what exactly the Colts are getting in their new 2022 starting QB.

“The Colts are getting a fierce competitor in Ryan,” said Thomas.

Thomas went on to talk about Ryan’s durability, toughness and leadership.

“This man has gotten the daylights knocked out of him game after game after game playing behind Atlanta’s porous offensive line, and he bounces right back up and gets back to work,” Thomas said.

“His durability is hard to even believe given the number of hits he’s taken, Thomas continued. You won’t find anyone with stronger leadership skills, either.”

Ryan’s top-notch leadership and durability are just part of the reason GM Chris Ballard pulled the trigger on the 4-time Pro Bowler.

Part of the Colts’ QB struggles last season was poor decision-making, which often led to mistakes in crucial moments.

With Ryan, Indy won’t have to worry about that.

“He’s a cerebral QB, he’s proficient at reading defenses, and if you give him time (i.e. don’t saddle him with two good offensive linemen and three turnstiles), he can pick defenses apart,” said Thomas.

While Ryan’s 20:12 TD:INT ratio didn’t turn heads last season, it’s fair to say that the his supporting cast didn’t exactly do him any favors.

“When you factor in the lack of a consistent run game, a middling-to-poor-to-downright-terrible offensive line, and a lackluster defense, the underperformance of which changes offensive strategy, and the lack of receiving talent (trading Julio Jones and then losing Calvin Ridley mid-season did not do Ryan any favors), I think Colts fans have every reason to be optimistic about Ryan heading into this season,” Thomas said.

Speaking of optimism, the Colts should feel that and then some after acquiring a QB of Ryan’s caliber for only a third-round draft choice.

Despite what his numbers may suggest, your eyes will tell you a different story when watching Ryan over the last few seasons.

He’s not nearly as “washed” as some may believe.

“Based on his consistency as he’s aged, I’d be surprised if we see Ryan retire sooner than three years from now,” Thomas said. “And I won’t be surprised if he continues to play at a high level that entire time.”

So, how far can a soon-to-be 37-year-old Ryan take the Colts in 2022?

Well, if you ask Thomas, the ceiling is a lot higher than some may think.

“A Lombardi Trophy,” said Thomas “And I, for one, will be pulling for Ryan and the Colts to win one.”