NFL Week 7 – Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich has announced that Matt Ryan will be named the starting quarterback. 2021 sixth-round selection Sam Ehlinger is set to take the starting role for next week’s game against the Washington Commanders.
The decision comes just a day after Indianapolis’ 19-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans, where Ryan finished 33 for 44 with 243 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and three sacks.
“At this time, Sam has to be the starter for the rest of the season,” Reich said, via the Colts’ official website. Reich also added that it was an “extremely difficult” decision and that he had been “particularly impressed with Sam this year in training”, pointing to the “special sauce” Ehlinger adds as an attacking playmaker. .
“It’s a big step, but we think he’s ready,” Reich said. “This guy is special. … Sam, he has that about him. He plays, he trains in such a way that he’s ready.”
While Ryan was also diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprained shoulder, Reich made it clear that the move to quarterback was going to happen anyway. A report from ESPN Stephen Holder says the decision came after a lengthy conversation between Reich, general manager Chris Ballard and owner Jim Irsay, who “has been getting more and more involved behind the scenes lately.”
The Colts traded a 2022 third-book pick for Ryan in March after leaving 2021 starting quarterback Carson Wentz. In the seven games Ryan has started, the Colts have only finished two with a positive offensive DVOA pass. The Colts’ offensive DVOA of -26.9% currently ranks last in the league, while their offensive DVOA of -20.3% is their worst start in seven weeks since 2017.
Ryan himself ranks 32nd in DVOA and DYAR among quarterbacks, leading only Carolina’s Baker Mayfield and Chicago’s Justin Fields. Ryan’s DVOA is the worst by a Colts starting quarterback (min. 200 pass attempts) since Curtis Painter in 2011 and would be the fifth-worst season in Colts franchise history.
According to OverTheCap, Matt Ryan has $12 million in guaranteed money on his contract in 2023. If cut, it would create a dead cap of $18 million.