The Indianapolis Colts haven’t even entered training camp yet, but new veteran quarterback Matt Ryan’s upgraded accuracy has already stood out during the team’s recent minicamp and OTAs:
“Every quarterback at this level is a good passer,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said via SI.com’s Albert Breer.
“But then there are guys that are at another level, in another zip code. I mean, his statistics bear out that he’s very accurate, but I probably didn’t fully appreciate just how good of a passer he was. In my mind, he’s in that elite category of accuracy, it’s just effortless. Just pure passing ability and accuracy. Or the way Matt talks about it, it’s D.T.A.—decision-making, timing and accuracy. His decision-making, timing and accuracy is elite.”
Reich’s recent comments only re-echo a similar sentiment that has already been shared by Ryan’s new teammates, local media members covering the Colts, and the underlying statistics regarding his still pristine accuracy:
Michael Pittman Jr.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) May 25, 2022
On Matt Ryan’s accuracy: you just catch it, turn and run pic.twitter.com/zpRl5hVWfJ
Beat throw I’ve seen at practice the past few weeks: Matt Ryan just rifled a dart past the corner and under the safety for a TD to Nyheim Hines.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) June 8, 2022
Ryan’s accuracy is what’s different this spring. Stands out in every practice.
I asked @Colts CB Stephon Gilmore about his impression of Matt Ryan so far:— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) June 8, 2022
"Matty Ice, he’s been making plays for a long time. He can put the ball anywhere."
Ryan's accuracy and anticipation have been eye-popping in OTA/minicamp practices, and he's flashed plenty of zip, too.
Highest accuracy % on 10+ yard throws since 2016:— PFF (@PFF) February 23, 2021
Matt Ryan pic.twitter.com/aewnjBqDJU
Some encouraging 2021 stats for Michael Pitman targets in 2022:— Zareh Kantzabedian (@ZKantzFF) June 8, 2022
2021 OnTgt% throws:
-Matt Ryan: 78.1% (9th)
-Carson Wentz: 73.7% (26th)
2021 Bad throw %:
-Ryan: 14.5% (5th)
-Wentz: 18.8% (26th)
Ryan threw 44 more passes than Wentz and was still a higher quality passer.
Who was throwing the best deep ball last season according to @NextGenStats? ⬇️— NFL (@NFL) June 7, 2022
While accuracy alone won’t be what separates Ryan from his Colts starting quarterback predecessor, Carson Wentz, there’s also leadership, consistency, and decision-making (and his downgraded mobility and arm strength for consideration), it should be one of the biggest upgrades for Indianapolis offensively in 2022.
The Colts left some passing yards, first downs, and points on the field last season, as Wentz’s inconsistent ball placement limited yards after the catch opportunities for his receivers, he refused to routinely ‘hit the layups’ by checking down to his backs/receivers or throw underneath, and his erratic quarterback play (namely re-occurring risky one handed shovel passes under considerable duress) led to turnovers which took the Indy offense off the field—and in critical situations.
The hope is that the 37 year old Ryan, even if he’s no longer his 2016 NFL MVP form, should be a significant upgrade in all regards—and it may all start with his still elite ‘eye-opening’ accuracy.