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Bolt Colt
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12 minutes ago, Bolt Colt said:

Matt Ryan Is Already Proving His Mettle in Indianapolis

The former NFL MVP has already left a strong impression on his Colts coaches and teammates.

ALBERT BREER

 

The moment might not mean anything six months from now, when the Colts are in the teeth of the NFL season’s grind. Or maybe it’ll be a harbinger that this group, that’s spent its last four seasons on the fringe of the league’s elite, was ready to break through.

Either way, for those involved, it was pretty funny.

The story starts with Matt Ryan acclimating to the Colts’ offense, and coach Frank Reich and coordinator Marcus Brady working through installing core plays with him over the course of the last two months. One such concept—“a play we’ve had a lot of success with,” Reich said—was going in, and it was a type of play that Ryan had a pretty good comfort level with from his 14 years in Atlanta.

“I really love this concept, and at the very beginning, I was like, Have you ever thought about just sitting this shallow down on the backside?” Ryan said. “It was, That’s not how we do it, whatever. And so we go through the whole offseason, and I keep looking at it on the practice field going, Man, I think it would look good if we sat that shallow down.”

“And this is the great thing about Matt,” Reich added. “He told us what he wanted, but he wasn’t demanding, like, Hey we gotta do this. And we said, alright, let us process this. The play came up several times in practice and we kept running it the old way.”

But Ryan kept looking and looking for reasons why, maybe, Reich and the Colts had that particular part of the play—a route run by a receiver who’d be fourth in the quarterback’s progression—right, and the idea of the adjustment just lingered in Ryan’s mind.

Finally, the last week of May, Ryan brought it up. And during a quarterback meeting in the first week of June, the second-to-last of the Colts’ offseason program, Reich said, “O.K., we’re going to look at it today.” Brady put it in the practice script. And as fortune would have it, the call went in when Ryan and the first offense was out, and Nick Foles was in with the twos.

“So Foles runs the play, the first progression’s not there, the second progression’s not there, and the third progression’s not there,” Reich said, his voice rising. “And sure enough, he goes back to the adjustment that Matt had talked about and it just clicked perfectly. And Foles hits and his reps were up, and he walks over and Matt looks at me, and I just start laughing. So Matt goes back in, now Matt’s in the huddle, Foles is in the background.”

Rookie tight end Andrew Ogletree came back with the ball, oblivious to what those who’d been in the quarterback room were laughing about, and as he did, Reich cracked to Foles, Hey, did he say it didn’t matter if the first couple guys are open or not, I want you to work through the progression all the way to this little change up? Did Matt pay you to do that?

“It’s just something funny,” Ryan said, “where you’re like, O.K., I think we’re all getting on the same page.”

Funny now, yes, with the hope being there’ll be deeper meaning to it in time as the Colts try to, finally, get over the hump with their fifth starting quarterback in as many years.

 

Colts QB Matt Ryan Reveals Thoughts on Offense, Progress Made This Spring

BY ANDREW MOORE

 

Indy might finally have the quarterback that makes it all click for Reich and GM Chris Ballard in their fifth year running the team together.

To understand the significance of that single OTA practice snap from early June, you have to first understand how Ryan and Reich have worked together since the Colts pulled the trigger on trading Carson Wentz and then trading for Ryan in March.

Once the deal was done, Ryan dove into Colts tape in a way he hadn’t really studied in years—“I’ve watched more film in the last year than I have in the last 10 or 12”—and did it with a purpose. As much as he wanted to learn Reich’s scheme, which is sprinkled with elements of all the different offenses he’s run the last 14 years, he also wanted to learn what his new teammates brought to the table.

He knew, for sure, that it’d take time, and for that reason, Ryan wasn’t going to impose his own beliefs or ideas on the coaching staff when he reported for the offseason in April.

“The thing is, they’ve played really good offense, they’ve run the ball extremely well, they have guys that are capable of being big playmakers in this league, multiple different guys,” Ryan said. “And so I can come in and say, Hey, listen I’ve had a lot of success doing it one way. But that was with a different cast of characters, a different group of guys. For me, I kind of took the slow and steady approach of, Let me see the other players, let me get to work on the field with them, let me digest all of what the Colts have done here.”

And he did that, even though he knew one of Reich’s greatest strengths, clearly illustrated by the number of quarterbacks he’s now won with, was to tailor his scheme to what the guy under center does best.

Reich, for his part, did broach the subject pretty early with Ryan, explaining how his philosophy—that there’s a foundation for the offense that accounts for about 80% of the scheme, with the other 20% open to swinging to the quarterback’s skill set—would work for a vet going into his 15th season. He emphasized how he’d look to collaborate with the quarterback. Ryan responded by telling him he’d need some time first.

“It was refreshing that here’s a guy who’s been the MVP of the league, here’s a guy who’s led his team to a Super Bowl appearance, here’s a guy who’s incredibly accomplished at the quarterback position in every way, coming in here and wanting to use it as a fresh start,” Reich said. “And as you said, Albert, really putting it in the context of, Hey I wanna learn this offense, I wanna learn what this team is all about, and there will be plenty of time for me to contribute to the process of what our offense will be.”

So there’s one reason why the Foles-to-Ogletree connection on a mid-June day mattered—because it reflected the amount of contemplation and care that went into every suggestion that Ryan has made the last two months. Even though the concept was one Ryan had run in Atlanta plenty, and the adjustment he was suggesting was a part of that concept in his previous NFL life, Ryan waited through more than six weeks of the offseason program, and until he knew his teammates well, to even raise the idea to his coaches.

Another reason it matters? Because it shows the level of detail Ryan’s going to be able to inject into the offense, which could, finally, unlock the potential of a maturing Colts team.

 

Everyone knows the list Reich compiled over his first four years as a head coach, from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers to Wentz. What you might forget is that he spent his first six years in coaching in Indianapolis too, as an assistant from 2006–11, and the first four of those were with just one quarterback, Peyton Manning, under center.

So when he says another quarterback is Peyton–esque, you might want to listen. And in a very specific way, he sees how Ryan’s approached the offseason like that.

“Matt’s an incredibly smart guy, but one of the things I’ve continued to be impressed by—he doesn’t want to expand things, he wants to consolidate things,” Reich said. “It’s a little bit Peyton–esque like that: Don’t try to overcoach, don’t get too cute, don’t try to overscheme, let’s just run the same things over and over again. That’s how I’ve been brought up in this league. In an age where everyone wants to talk about how smart the coaches are, or the quarterback is, and all the ways that you can scheme, and do this and that … and those are all important things, [but] Matt is old school, and I’m a little bit old school like this too.

“It’s like this, rather than always trying to scheme things up where one guy’s open, the play is designed so if the quarterback can work his progressions, somebody’s going to be open.”

That may sound like a lot of football jargon, but there’s an easy way to explain what Reich’s saying. He likes to have a quarterback who can find a lot of answers with a certain play, knowing the more answers the quarterback can find within a play, the fewer plays the coaches will have to run. In turn, the reasoning goes, you’re lightening the mental load on other players, allowing them to play faster and getting them a lot of reps on certain concepts, which theoretically adds up to better execution of those concepts.

“And then everyone knows,” Reich continued, “where if you’re a receiver, you better be running to get open because he can get the whole way through the progression.”

Which, then, explains why the fourth progression on a single play gnawed at Ryan through the offseason—because for him and Reich to run the kind of offense they want to run, having that tight end sit down on a shallow route has to matter. And that level of detail would, as Reich learned quickly through April and May, matter in just about everything that Ryan did, as he commuted through the spring, spending his weekdays in Indy and his weekends in Atlanta (his twin sons were finishing up pre-K back in Georgia).

It didn’t stop with scheme, either, as Ryan said earlier. He wanted to know his teammates on the same level, and not just who they were as people and what they were as players, but also the fine details of their tendencies, their likes, and how they moved on the field, a process that necessitates Ryan getting to see and feel them out in person in a practice setting.

So even though he arrived blown away by the Colts’ run game, and impressed with both Jonathan Taylor and the versatile Nyheim Hines within it, and intrigued with the size, length and physicality of tight end Mo-Alie Cox on tape, he knows more in June than he did in April.

“I knew a lot about the Colts, but when you dive into it and you watch every day, you find out, Oh, well, I knew about him, I didn’t know he was this good,” Ryan said. “When you watch a lot of them, it’s, O.K., I didn’t really know he had this skill set. Same thing with the receivers, I think there's a young group, obviously they’ve had some injuries there, but it’s a young group, it’s a talented, physical group.

“I’m trying to put into my head, O.K., the way these guys run, what route combinations fit them, how can we use certain guys? And then seeing how that stacks up with how the coaching staff and guys feel about it, that’s more of what I was watching.”

Another result—Ryan can now do more for them, both at and away from the facility. To that end, through the NFL’s summer break, he’ll work out with Colts skill players in twos, rather than gathering them all at once, in California, Ohio, Atlanta and Indianapolis. The idea, he says, is “to go slow and steady with each guy,” and get each player the work he needs. Ryan also jokes, “I only have one arm,” so in a bigger setting, especially as he gets older, it’s tougher to get everyone work without wearing himself out.

“It’s brilliant,” said Reich of the plan. “I don’t know too many guys that do it like that. I think it’s showing his experience and savvy as a leader and making each experience more valuable, giving each other the attention that’s going to help elevate their game, as opposed to getting the whole group there. And like he said, he’s only got one arm.”

The last three months have been an adjustment for Ryan, for sure. It took him two or three weeks just to figure out where everything was in the Colts’ facility and learn the names of the people he’d pass in the hall.

“I talked to Matthew Stafford right after, and before I got traded, when the possibility was out there,” Ryan said. “He was like, Don’t get me wrong, you love the experience that you’ve had the entire time, and you love the continuity and the people that you know, but it’s a bit like going to that first day of high school, where you switch schools and you’re going in trying to meet people. There’s that nervous, anxious excitement that comes with it.

“I think all the firsts you tick off along the way, whether it’s first game, first whatever, all those things will have that kind of feel.”

That’s why, Ryan continued, he approached his position of leadership within the team with the same sort of methodical approach he took to learning the offense and personnel. In the beginning, Ryan joked that he felt like, “I’m supposed to be telling you what to do, but I can’t remember what we’re calling.” Over time, he got his footing. Through it all, his coaches and teammates were struck by how he forced nothing.

“I always have belief that the guys that have that special, unique leadership ability have this combination of rare confidence, but also rare humility, they’re blended together,” Reich said. “You can be extremely confident, have extremely strong convictions and beliefs about who you are and what you do, but also have a genuine humility about you. And then when you have those two things and you’re super talented, you’re gonna get an elite leader.”

As a leader, Reich continued, “he’s elite.”

That brings us to the player Reich now has, at 37 years old, at the position he once played.

Of all the quarterbacks traded this offseason, Ryan is the only one who’s been league MVP. He’s also the one who most recently started a Super Bowl. And even after 15 years, it was obvious as Reich, in his words, turned OTAs and minicamp this year into more of a passing camp than it has been the last four years, with a ton of seven-on-seven work done, that Ryan is hardly on his last legs as a player.

“Not even close,” Reich said. “I mean, not even close. He’s made so many throws. The way his throwing mechanics are flawless and it’s so effortless, literally reminds me of a PGA golfer who looks effortless in his swing. Like when the ball comes off the clubhead, the ball just sounds different, looks different, feels different, and then the golfer hits it where he wants to hit it. That’s the way I feel with Matt. He makes every throw look the same, he’s never straining, he’s very disciplined in his mechanics, very sound in his mechanics.”

Which is where Reich still sees the special traits that made Ryan the third pick in the draft in 2008, and a franchise quarterback for a decade and a half in Atlanta.

“Every quarterback at this level is a good passer,” Reich said. “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.”

So as Reich has learned that about Ryan, and Ryan has learned just about everything about the Colts, the word “energizing” is one each used to explain where their conversations and relationship are going. Reich is just the second coach Ryan’s had who played quarterback in the NFL (ex-Falcons QBs coach Bill Musgrave is the other), which has allowed for discussions to take on a different depth and context. Conversely, as Reich said, Ryan is showing a synergy in how he sees offensive football with his coach that’s tough to find.

“There’s a lot of overlap,” Reich says.

The season is still three months away. The Colts have a lot to prove, and Ryan concedes that he does too: “I think you always do, as a player.” But for now, both are trusting that they’ll be ready for that when they get there, and taking each step as it comes.

To this point, taking that approach, even when it comes down to the granular stuff, like the fourth progression in a concept in a June practice, has served them well as a coach tries to break through and stabilize his quarterback position—and a quarterback tries to breathe new life into his career in a second home, like Manning and Tom Brady recently did.

“It’s tough at the beginning, when you’re making that transition, and you don’t know what’s gonna go on,” Ryan said. “But here I am, sitting here eight, nine weeks later, I am so excited. I couldn’t be more fired up to play with those guys and to work with Frank and work with Marcus Brady, Scott Milanovich and Parks Frazier. It’s been awesome. I think sometimes you need a little bit of a change. It can be good for everybody. I certainly feel that way.”

Absent the hype you’ve seen elsewhere this offseason, a lot of people in Indy do, too.

Top 25 ever, I have us winning the division and going to the AFC Title Game. Matt Ryan is great all-time and still good today.

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11 minutes ago, Bolt Colt said:

And he did that, even though he knew one of Reich’s greatest strengths, clearly illustrated by the number of quarterbacks he’s now won with, was to tailor his scheme to what the guy under center does best.

Reich, for his part, did broach the subject pretty early with Ryan, explaining how his philosophy—that there’s a foundation for the offense that accounts for about 80% of the scheme, with the other 20% open to swinging to the quarterback’s skill set

The QB matters.  The offense reflects the QB.  It doesn't make lemonade out of lemons.

 

14 minutes ago, Bolt Colt said:

Reich said. “It’s a little bit Peyton–esque like that: Don’t try to overcoach, don’t get too cute, don’t try to overscheme, let’s just run the same things over and over again. That’s how I’ve been brought up in this league. In an age where everyone wants to talk about how smart the coaches are, or the quarterback is, and all the ways that you can scheme, and do this and that … and those are all important things, [but] Matt is old school, and I’m a little bit old school like this too.

Modern fans love the idea of scheming.  The better the schemer, the better the coach.

15 minutes ago, Bolt Colt said:

“It’s like this, rather than always trying to scheme things up where one guy’s open, the play is designed so if the quarterback can work his progressions, somebody’s going to be open.”

Something that Kurt Warner pointed out that Wentz was not seeing. (who probably felt like he had no time to see it)

 

19 minutes ago, Bolt Colt said:

“Every quarterback at this level is a good passer,” Reich said. “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.”

Yep, nice to see that Ryan seems to excel at what's important...and knows what is important.

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1 minute ago, DougDew said:

The QB matters.  The offense reflects the QB.  It doesn't make lemonade out of lemons.

 

Modern fans love the idea of scheming.  The better the schemer, the better the coach.

Something that Kurt Warner pointed out that Wentz was not seeing. (who probably felt like he had no time to see it)

 

Yep, nice to see that Ryan seems to excel at what's important...and knows what is important.

Wentz couldn't carry Matt Ryan's jock strap homer simpson beach GIF

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Great read. And really good insight to this upcoming offense. I’m all for doing a set of plays at an elite level over doing many plays at an okay level. 
 

The more I learn about Matt, the more I like him. 

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Great article, thanks @Bolt Colt!

 

Normally I’m wouldn’t get too hyped about a QB going to his 4th option while in practice wearing a red shirt.  But it goes to show Ryan’s acumen for the game.  
 

I’m not going to bash Carson, I think he did everything he was capable of doing on the field to help the team win.  But I don’t think anyone would argue that he locked on to a receiver, especially MJP, and that ball was going there even if he was double covered.  
 

Ryan won’t do that.  He processes so much faster. The question is - can his body do what his mind is telling it?  
 

Love that he’s going to work with two guys at a time too. So smart.  

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On 6/13/2022 at 12:18 PM, RollerColt said:

Great read. And really good insight to this upcoming offense. I’m all for doing a set of plays at an elite level over doing many plays at an okay level. 
 

The more I learn about Matt, the more I like him. 

 

22 hours ago, throwing BBZ said:

 

 And Saturday once said something like, we only run 12-13 plays.

I think it's also a great way to get these young guys on board quicker.  Running it over and again in practice until it sticks will help them learn quicker, play faster, and could be rewarding to them as the 3rd or 4th option.  You can't take any play off, and be ready cause Matt will toss it where you're supposed to be.

 

I'm really excited for this year, similar to when we had Rivers.  I think our potential this year is much higher than in 2020, though.

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