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Michael Pittman Jr. Basically Says The Colts Were Playing Backyard Football With Carson Wentz At QB

Andy Lyons. Getty Images.

There are always these sorts of puff pieces throughout the offseason, gassing up players who may or may not deserve it. I don't know if Matt Ryan is the definitive answer to the Indianapolis Colts' post-Andrew Luck quarterback woes. Have my doubts. What does seem apparent is that his WR1 Michael Pittman Jr. has his back fully. Carson Wentz was deemed by Pittman incapable of running a functional NFL offense last season, which is part of the reason the Colts shipped him to the abyss that is the Washington NFL franchise and acquired Matty Ice.

Seems like Ryan has been a tone-setter ever since he arrived to Indianapolis. In other parts of that feature on The Athletic, there are stories of him restarting practices when the quality of play wasn't satisfactory, and screaming at teammates during freaking OTAs. The wily vet is at the very least locked in and determined to make it work with his new team. While the Colts' o-line in terms of pass-blocking isn't great, damn anything is better than what the statuesque pocket passer was working with in Atlanta of late. 

I'm not sure if this is more of an indictment on Frank Reich and the coaching staff, the Colts' pedestrian receiving corps' not having enough guys who can separate consistently, or if Wentz's penchant for going off-script was so insatiable that he couldn't take what the defense gave him often enough. Maybe a combination of all of the above. The guy did throw for 27 TDs and only 7 INTs last year, yet he had the benefit of the NFL's rushing champion Jonathan Taylor to make life much easier for him. Still only managed a 62.4% completion rate. Among starting QBs who played in at least seven games, Wentz only ranked ahead of Jalen Hurts, an injured-as-hell Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Trevor Lawrence, Jameis Winston, Justin Fields and Zach Wilson.

As the photo I chose to lead this blog suggests, I won't soon forget this vintage Wentz blunder:

That's the type of untimely, erratic, boneheaded play that got Wentz run out of Philly and Indy in consecutive seasons. Poor Nate and all Commanders fans out there. We all know how this ends, do we not?

So I guess Ryan's stabilizing, structured presence is a big reason why Pittman and the Colts are optimistic — and why oddsmakers are so bullish on Indianapolis, who are at -134 to win the AFC South at Barstool Sportsbook right now. For the life of me, I don't get it. I see alleged annual GM of the Year Chris Ballard assemble a solid-but-not-spectacular roster every year while failing to get the quarterback right. I see the Titans consistently outcoach the Colts, to the point where Ryan Tannehill, largely without Derrick Henry, led Tennessee to the AFC's No. 1 seed in 2021.

I'm personally riding the Titans at +190. Check out my playoff predictions to see why I like them to remain atop the AFC South. Apologies to the Indy faithful out there. I want to believe. I feel bad for you because of the Andrew Luck situation. It's just that I get let down every year. Thankfully, it looks like there's an incredible 2023 draft class of QBs coming, and Ryan will be entering a contract year next season. Maybe it's just me but I feel like trotting out a seventh different Week 1 starter in the past seven seasons at the most important position in football doesn't bode well for your chances of success.

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All 32 fan bases have every right to be optimistic before the season starts to some degree. As Pittman implies, Ryan does feel like an upgrade over Wentz, but few QBs in the league wouldn't meet that criteria.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald / TikTok