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James Boyd | The Athletic Indianapolis Colts Insider

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October 25, 2022 6:12 am

James Boyd | The Athletic Indianapolis Colts Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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October 25, 2022 6:12 am

Indianapolis Colts Insider for The Athletic James Boyd joins the show to talk about the benching of QB Matt Ryan, and where the team goes from here with Sam Ehlinger.

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We welcome James Boyd of The Athletic who covers the Indianapolis Colts and it certainly had a very busy day. Well, I just want to get your reaction right off the top, Jayce, because I was certainly surprised when I heard that Frank Reich and the Colts were making this move to bench Matt. I did not expect it to happen this soon, if at all. I felt like, you know, at 33-1 the season is not completely lost. If they were like 1-6 or 2-5 then I would, you know, not be that surprised.

But I was pretty surprised to see it happen. But at the same time, I mean, I guess the Colts feel like they have to go in a new direction to see what they have and then finally kind of fix this quarterback turnstile they've had the last few years. In your opinion, watching Matt Ryan through these first seven weeks, what have been the major problems?

The biggest problem is probably not no fault of his own. It's the offensive line. It is terrible. It's the highest paid offensive line in the league, but it's been, you know, well below average. And then I think he's compounded it with some really bad mistakes on his part, the Jacksonville game. I'm sorry, the Tennessee Titans game Sunday afternoon. His two interceptions were completely in my opinion, not completely his fault, but mainly his fault. There were two really bad throws. You cannot blame them on the offensive line.

You cannot, you know, make those plays here. Matt Ryan has been in the league for 15 years. And, you know, it seems like every week he was turning the ball over quite frankly, you know, 11 fumbles, nine interceptions, just nine touchdown passes. So he's only had one clean game this year without a turnover. So it just felt like every week you're just giving the defense, the opposing defense that is, chances to just pounce all over you and making it even harder on a struggling offense. Right, Matt Ryan leads the league with nine picks through seven games, but also has fumbled 11 times and has lost three of those. You're talking about double figure turnovers. And again, while not everything can be blamed on him, certainly that's a lot for a team that is trying to get its head above water. James Boyd is with the athletic, covers the Colts on what's been, well, a fairly dramatic start to the season.

Now 3-3-1. It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio. How much do you think that has to do with the shoulder injury and how much do you think it has to do with them just needing a fresh look at the position?

I think it's the latter. You know, Frank Reich was immediately asked today after announcing that Matt Ryan had, you know, a grade two shoulder separation that he'd be out for a while. Hey, is this, you know, are you putting Sam in there just to be QB one to hold down that spot or is it his for the rest of the season? He said his hips for the rest of the season.

The injury had nothing to do with it. So it just felt like the wheels kind of came off in Tennessee Sunday. So I think from my perspective, it's, it feels like kind of like a fan on that Ryan's career, just because he was promised a lot of things when he came to Indianapolis. He's promised a good, you know, old line, a good running game and he's gotten neither.

And like I said, it's just gotten worse when he makes the mistakes that he's made. So they want to try something new and it feels like, you know, if they things work out with Tim Ellinger and he balls out, you know, and have some miracle season, you found your new young quarterback. And if not, you, you're most likely having a top pick and you're going to find your new quarterback in the dress. What does he bring to the table?

Mobility. That's the biggest thing you've heard from every coach, the players, he can run a lot better than that Ryan, which will obviously help alleviate some of the pressure because the offensive line has been, you know, so weak. But I also think that, you know, fans have to, you know, kind of simmer down their expectations because he's like a new shiny toy, right?

You know, having seen him, he's going to do all these great things and it's like, he's never thrown, you know, a pass in an NFL game before a real NFL game, regular season game. So I think there's going to be a lot of struggling, a lot of, you know, uphill battles, but again, you kind of just have to see what you got in house before you go shopping elsewhere for a quarterback. Knowing what we know of head coach Frank Reich, how difficult was this decision for him? Oh, really hard. Frank Reich is a grade a human being and Matt Ryan is as well from my interactions with both. So I know it had to be hard to tell him, Hey, you know, this, this is no longer your team in a sense.

And I said it earlier today. That was probably Matt Ryan's last start for the cold, unless some, he comes back and some other crazy injuries happens and he gets thrown right back in there. But assuming things go the course that they do, um, that's it for him. You know, that's, I mean, he'll probably be around and I'm sure he won't retire. Like people are hoping he will save money. No, he'll be back to make his money.

It's just, I don't think he'll start for the Colts again, um, the rest of his career. What do we know about this decision though? Was this solely Frank or would this have been from above him or at least input from owner and front office? I absolutely think that Jimmy, uh, Ursa had, you know, a lot to do with this decision. Um, obviously he's the owner and whatever the owner says goes and most organizations, most teams. And I think that, you know, actually I know that, you know, he met with Frank Reich, along with Chris Bell, the GM, and they all came to a consensus.

It's kind of how Frank Reich, you know, determined it. But I mean, when we kind of pushed back a little bit, like, Hey, how much did you ever say after saying this? You know, he's like, yeah, he made the decision and we all were in agreement.

And it's like, you know, it's like, if your parents say something, you're a kid, it's like, yeah, we're all in agreement here. He can't really push back on that. So, I mean, it's tough, but I think that again, they want to see what they have. And it feels like even if Matt Ryan, um, the injury or not, it just felt like this team was at best going to be mediocre. That's kind of the worst place to be in sports. You either want to be like really bad or really good. So you get a good pick or you obviously have a shot to do something in the postseason. You don't want to be irrelevant. Exactly. You want to be one extreme or the other. James Boyd is with us from Indianapolis covers the Colts for the athletic. It's after hours here on CBS sports radio. I read this quote and I need you to explain it to me.

It comes from Frank Reich. And he said, I told Matt, we did not hold up our end of the bargain. You've already mentioned offensive line, but what was he talking about? The offensive line number one, the running game. I mean, you have Johnson Taylor and I believe they're like 30th in the NFL and rushing.

So like they're, they're really struggling and it's like all the offensive categories, um, or at least the offensive help people to have, hasn't been there. And, and I wasn't really surprised to find out he had an injury, um, after the Tennessee game, because he was getting hit so much. I believe he was hit the most in the NFL. If not, you know, he's top three hits, top three hurries and all these, you know, all the stats that are bad for your quarterback.

He was right at the top as far as he's taking pressure. So, um, it felt like, again, he was promised a lot of things. And quite honestly, we assumed a lot of things. I had never assumed, I would never thought that the closest offensive line, the highest paid offensive line in the league will be one of the worst in the league. So, um, I thought that was Frank right. Kind of taking a bullet from Matt Ryan there and not saying it's all on him, but on the flip side, it's like, okay, now you got to look and see is Frank Reich and Chris Ballard, the GM are their seats hot. Well, they have jobs after the season, depending on how things go. And so that's something that's like the next thing to keep an eye on.

Well, I'm glad you brought that up because I was going to transition that direction. He's very well liked. It's not as though he's had any steadiness at the position. It feels like every year since Frank got there, it's been a different quarterback or two.

So yeah, how hot is the seat for Frank? And then ultimately for the GM as well. I think they both got a ton of grace after Andrew Luck obviously retired suddenly, I believe in 2018, 2019 or, and, and now it's like, you know, you're three, four seasons later and you're still not able to figure it out. So I do think that the patience and that grace that I just spoke about is kind of running out and you need to find out a way to sustain something and happens in the kind of rally around. Cause it seems like every year this team is, you know, just not good enough in this year, especially it just seems like a lot of these flaws have come to a head. And even on like the defensive side, things haven't really, you know, the defense has played well, but they're missing their best player Shaquille Leonard. So it just feels like so many things have kind of not gone right this season. And obviously the biggest one being at quarterback and then, you know, quarterback kind of tripled down. Like if you can't figure things out with your quarterback, if you can't figure things out for your franchise, who's going to lead it, you know, player wise, your seat's going to get hot as a GM and as a coach. So we'll see how things go.

If they end up bottoming out and it's really bad. We could see some changes, but you know, now Sam Ellinger, I guess we'll have to get used to media scrums and like he wasn't at Texas, you know? Well, Texas is under a microscope all the time for football. So he's probably used to a lot of prying eyes, but thinking about the quarterback Carousel, Andrew Luck, his last season was 2018.

You referenced his abrupt retirement. He played every game that year, though he was hurt. Then it's Jacoby Bressett, it's Brian Hoyer. In 2020, it's Phillip Rivers. In 21, it's Carson Wentz. Now it's Matt Ryan and it's Sam. It's really challenging to come up with any kind of consistency when you are constantly changing that quarterback.

So it's funny you mentioned that. My colleague, my coworker, actually, Zach Kiefer asked Nahim Hines about this a few weeks ago. You know, how hard is it to create offensive continuity when you're constantly having to adjust to different quarterbacks? He's like, look, I've been here five years and I've had, you know, five different quarterbacks and it's hard.

He's like, because other teams, you know, like a, like he was bringing up Tennessee at the time. And after I believe the first matchup between the two teams, he's like, they've had, you know, Tannehill they've had this guy for years. They know what he's going to do on every single play.

They know how he plays. Like they know what they're going to get from him every single year because he's been there. And then for them, it's like, okay, they go into the off season.

Who's going to be our quarterback. They go into the training camp. We have to adjust a bunch of things. They're going to games. Things are different than they were a year ago.

So there's like not a lot of chances to just, you know, know it like the back of your hand. So now you're doing that in season, seven games in, and you have to start over with a new quarterback who I'm sure they're very high on. They said all the right things about them, but quite frankly, again, has no NFL experience in a real NFL game.

Right. James Boyd is with us from the athletic covers, the Colts on what was a fairly stunning move by the team today, benching Matt Ryan and fam will take over the rest of the season. According to the Colts, it's after hours on CBS sports radio. So I want to ask about Jonathan Taylor. I know he's been hurt.

It still blows me away that he's only got one touchdown, especially coming off last season in which he was not only the bell cow, everyone knew he was going to get the ball and still couldn't stop him. What's changed. Amy, the offensive line, it all goes back to the line. Oh my God. Yes. It's I mean, I would, I would love to give you some deep analysis about it, but quite frankly, I mean, that group has really regressed and it seems like they can't run block.

They can't pass block. And I think part of it also is scheming for example, and I was fully prepared to ask, you know, Frank right this before he announced the Matt Ryan, who's like obviously shifts all of your questions to, you know, him and San angel. I'm going to ask him like, Hey, why did Jonathan Taylor only have 10, 10 carries like you guys are saying he's fully healthy. He missed the last two games getting healthy. And we asked him after the game, he was fine.

And he's like, yeah, I was fine. And Frank Rex saying he had a planned rotation and I'm like plan rotations. The rotation should include your best back more than 10, 10 carries. So I'm no genius.

And I'm sure, I'm sure I'll cut to it later this week, but I was just very curious. I understand that he's not having the season that he had a year ago. A lot of that comes from the help he has around him, but he was doing all right yesterday, you know, yesterday or the day before now, but, um, he was doing pretty good. He had, you know, 10 carriers, 54 yards, 17 touches for 85 yards.

And, you know, you're not using him as a bell cow when that's what he is. So it felt really weird about that. I know a lot of people in fantasy have been very upset because JC has not been the JC that we saw a year ago. Any explanations from the line about why it's been this giant step backward? Cause it used to be a strength of the Colts.

Yeah. A lot of it, you know, they'll say it's execution, it's communication, but I think at this point and we've all accepted this on the beat from the outside, looking in, I would say for me personally, about four or five games in you are what you are at this point. Um, I just don't think that there's going to be some huge, you know, communication issue that can get solved.

It sticks like that, or there can be some execution, you know, schemes, scheme wise that can, you know, magically fix all these issues that are going on. I just think that this group, um, has declined rapidly, more rapidly than we could ever imagine coming into this season. Like I would have never thought one of the weakest units on the Colts would have been the offensive line coming into this season.

And here we are. It's interesting to look at their schedule too, and the fact that they have had a front-loaded schedule in terms of the AFC South, they've already played the Texans, the Jaguars, the Titans, the Jaguars, the Titans, right? So they've gotten the majority of their AFC South opponents out of the way.

What do you make of that? I thought that was a ridiculous schedule. I've never seen a schedule like that. Like their last division game comes at the end of the season against the Texans.

Right. So, you know, it was very front-loaded, but at the same time, you know, if you take care of business, you probably feel a lot better about where you are at this point in the season. Um, there's no reason in my opinion that a team, uh, with as many pro bowlers and all pro players from last year coming into this year, the Coke should have tied the Texans in the season opener. There's no way you go down to Jacksonville where your season came to a crushing end last year and you lay another egg in Jacksonville.

So although it is front-loaded, I thought that they wasted their opportunities and it comes back to vitamin. And I know that they didn't lose against the Texans, but that tie felt like a loss. It was very weird. Amy walking around the locker room and asking people, Hey, how does it feel to be winless and undefeated? You know, just weird stuff like that, where they didn't handle their business. And it feels like, again, if you're a four, two and one, if you're five, you know, one in one or something, you're feeling good about yourself, but it just feels like, you know, after this, they, they lost his last game and dropped to one, three and one AFC South.

I mean, that's, that's inexcusable considering the amount of talent they held in this roster and just a failure to execute. So the big shocker is that Matt Ryan has been benched. Has anyone spoken to him? Was he made available to the media? He was not made available today. Um, Sam Ellinger was not made available at either. We'll probably get a chance to talk to both Wednesday.

I know for sure. We'll probably get Sam Ellinger. I don't know how it works with Matt Ryan and his injuries and things like that. It totally even be in the building and what's going on.

Cause he did have a separated shoulder. So that's, that's a pretty big, you know, um, you know, deal. So we'll talk to Sam and I'm very curious to hear what he has to say because, you know, three or four weeks ago, he was QB three, not QB two, three got elevated. And then now he's got, he's in the driver's seat and they're handing the keys to him. And it's basically like, you know, uh, let's see what you got happening a lot around the NFL. Maybe he and Kenny Pickett can compare notes, uh, considering that pick it's been thrust into that Bailey Zappi as well with the Patriots.

Yes, it's happening all over. So it's good to connect with James Boyd on Twitter. You can find him at Romeo Ville kid, and he covers the calls for the athletic. I appreciate the insight, especially on a day like today. Thank you, James. Thanks for having me. I'm always available whenever you need me to hit me up. It was a great coming on and we'll see what the rest of this cult season brings.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-11 16:04:40 / 2022-11-11 16:13:09 / 8

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