The deep ball won’t go away with Matt Ryan

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The Indianapolis Colts are taking a page out of their 2020 formula by bringing in an aging veteran quarterback who arrives after being the face of a different franchise for more than a decade.

Bringing in Matt Ryan this offseason should be viewed as a big win for the Colts, who admittedly didn’t have a plan following the deal that sent Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders.

When adding a soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback, there will be questions about his ability to make plays downfield. When it comes to Ryan’s game, the metrics show he still has a deep ball.

According to Pro Football Focus, a deep pass is measured by a pass attempt that travels at least 20 yards in the air. During the 2021 season, Ryan’s 52.9% adjusted completion percentage ranked second in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks.

Meanwhile, his 14.9 yards per attempt mark on those throws ranked eighth-best and his 101.9 passer rating was 11th-best among qualified quarterbacks. All this while dealing with the fourth-highest drop percentage (18.5%) on those specific throws.

Ryan’s arm isn’t what it used to be. No one is saying that he isn’t past his prime. To expect 2016 MVP numbers would be setting the table for disappointment.

But the fact that his metrics look that favorably with the type of supporting cast he had in Atlanta during his final season goes to show that he can still elevate an offense regardless of the pieces around him.

Not to mention, Ryan is a strong fit because of what he can also do with pre- and post-snap recognition while showing the ability to “make the layups” as general manager Chris Ballard alluded to this offseason.

The Colts need to continue building the offense around Ryan. The 2022 NFL draft is likely to include some selections at tight end and wide receiver in order to add more talent to unit.

But Ryan showed that even with one of the worst supporting casts in the league, he can still get the job done at all parts of the field.

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