No one is safe from criticism after losing 24-0 in the NFL. That includes a potential future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan threw 3 interceptions and took 5 sacks in the team’s 24-point defeat against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it was the first time Ryan had 3 interceptions and 5 sacks in an NFL game.
Ryan was supposed to be one of the final pieces to turn the Colts into a Super Bowl contender. But coming off perhaps the worst performance in his 15-year NFL career, NFL writer Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News wrote that the Colts should be “at least considering a switch” at quarterback.
“Ryan’s play gives the offense a hard ceiling,” Iyer wrote. “That’s a continued problem for next week, when the Colts will try to keep up with the 2-0 Chiefs in the home opener. Then Indianapolis faces reigning AFC South champion Tennessee in Week 4 before going on the road for a Thursday night game vs. Russell Wilson and Denver.
“Riding Taylor alone won’t get the job done. The Colts need much improved QB play.”
Colts Backup Nick Foles
Just about everything needs to improve for Indianapolis, and if Josh Rosen was still Ryan’s backup like last season with the Atlanta Falcons, Iyer probably wouldn’t be able to form an argument to bench Ryan.
But the Colts have one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league — Nick Foles. He won Super Bowl MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2017 season. Foles experienced that success with Colts head coach Frank Reich as his offensive coordinator.
Iyer argued Foles could bring an element to the Indianapolis offense that has been missing through the first 2 weeks with Ryan.
“Foles, reunited with Reich from Philadelphia’s offense, is known for providing long-term sparks coming off the bench — see his run as Super Bowl 51 MVP,” Iyer wrote. “Although also volatile in his own right, Foles also has a bigger arm than Ryan and can provide better downfield elements.”
Foles is 29-27 as an NFL starter in his career. But he is 3-9 as a starter since leaving the Eagles following the 2018 season.
Colts’ Offensive Problems Besides Quarterback
Iyer can call for a quarterback change, but Foles won’t be able to fix Indianapolis’ problems in pass protection or at receiver.
The Jaguars pressured Ryan all afternoon, as evident by Jacksonville’s 5 sacks. The Jaguars also had 11 quarterback hits and several pass deflections at the line of scrimmage. One of those pass deflections led to 1 of Ryan’s 3 interceptions.
Indianapolis’ pass catchers were a mess in Week 2 as well without star wideout Michael Pittman Jr. His replacement on the roster, Dezmon Patmon, had only 2 catches for 24 yards and dropped a critical third-down pass in the first half.
Despite missing Pittman and rookie Alec Pierce, who were 2 of Indianapolis’ top 3 receivers coming into the season, Parris Campbell, the Colts’ No. 2 wideout on the depth chart, didn’t catch a single pass. He only had 2 targets.
That’s almost unfathomable.
There are still 15 games left to rebound, but Campbell’s goose egg in the perfect opportunity to see a bulk of targets from Ryan is a terrible sign.
All of these offensive struggles make it unlikely Reich places all the blame on Ryan by benching him. But Iyer’s proposed quarterback switch for the Colts makes it clear that everyone in Indianapolis is going to face their share of criticism until the product on the field improves.