According to Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich, new veteran starting quarterback Matt Ryan will see extended playing time in the first quarter of this year’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night (via The Athletic’s Zak Keefer):
Frank Reich says Matt Ryan will play up to a full quarter in Saturday’s preseason opener — a big change from how the Colts have treated the preseason the last few years.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 10, 2022
Ryan likely won’t be the only starter garnering some additional snaps either, as Reich indicated that his starters could play a “little more” than the Colts have routinely had their first-team units play during preseason in the past.
The Colts are attempting to snap a highly improbable 8-game losing streak regarding the franchise’s regular season openers—as Indianapolis hasn’t kicked off the season with a ‘W’ surprisingly since 2013.
Reich’s teams have typically gotten off to slow starts, as it’s become a larger issue than just regular season openers since his arrival in 2018. However, arguably the main culprit of the Colts generally starting off the season fairly rusty under Reich is the constant ‘musical chairs’ that continues to happen at starting quarterback.
The Colts just haven’t had any sort of continuity since Andrew Luck’s abrupt and shocking retirement just weeks before the 2019 campaign began:
the Colts are 0-8 in Week 1 dating back to 2014— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 21, 2022
they are the only team in the NFL to lose 8 straight season-opener games
with Frank Reich as Head Coach:
weeks 1-5 = 8-12 (40%)
weeks 6+ = 29-16 (64%)
the new QBs every year likely a key contributing factor to the slow starts https://t.co/ozqYp83mJ1
Could some additional snaps keep the passing game sharper and let the Colts starters better condition and prepare for the physicality and speed of the regular season? Sure.
However, the counter-point to that is that a team unnecessarily risks its starters to potential injuries (although some would argue that a long layover without gameday snaps can too).
There’s a blurred line, and it’s far from an exact science on what the real answer is here. Maybe a few extra preseason snaps could help the Colts’ early season winning cause, but let’s not get overly carried away either.