Benching of Matt Ryan becomes latest quarterback failure for Colts

The sudden retirement of Andrew Luck continues to reverberate through the Colts organization.

It’s not Luck’s fault. Any NFL player can leave whatever he wants. Any player who no longer wants to play should leave. But the reality is that Luck’s late-August departure in 2019 has sent the franchise into a tailspin from which it hasn’t recovered.

They went from Luck to Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan. One after another after another after another.

Rivers took them to the playoffs but retired. They reportedly wanted him back, but that’s easy to say when the player has decided to walk away.

They definitely didn’t want Wentz back after 2021. But at least he got the full season. Ryan got benched after seven games.

It’s not as if he didn’t deserve it. He hasn’t played well. They want to see what they have in Sam Ehlinger. If it works, then they’ve found someone who will hold the job for more than a year. If it doesn’t, maybe they finish poorly enough to get themselves in position to draft another franchise quarterback.

That’s been the problem for the Colts since Luck retired. They’ve been just competitive enough to not be in position to draft a high-end rookie quarterback. And they’ve been just promising enough to justify looking for a plug-and-play veteran.

The problem is that no one they’ve plugged in has played well enough. Yes, Rivers did. Would they have gotten farther in the 2020 postseason with Tom Brady, who reportedly had some interest in the Colts? Maybe, but the Colts (as the story goes in some league circles) didn’t want to risk another Josh McDaniels outcome, if they flirted with Brady and then he eventually went elsewhere.

Next year, it apparently won’t be any other veteran quarterback. It’ll be Ehlinger or they’ll get a rookie and hope he becomes the guy they haven’t had since Luck decided he had reached his lifetime limit of professional football.