The Colts were confident that as the quarterback dominoes fell this offseason, they could be in a position to take advantage of that chain reaction. And when Ryan began to assess his options, it became clear to the 36-year-old that, if he decided to leave the team he quarterbacked for a decade and a half, Indianapolis was where he wanted to be.
And Ryan, despite infrequent overlap with the AFC South, took note over the last few years of two things going on in Indianapolis: One, Reich’s coaching acumen; and two, the strong roster put together by Ballard.
“I’ve been watching what this team has done the last three or four years and building and getting better and really feel like it was the kind of place you’d want to come in the position that I’m in,” Ryan said. “I’m really excited to be here.”
Ryan pointed to Reich’s ability to “morph” his offense around the skills and talents of his players, which has led to the Colts scoring the eighth-most points in the NFL over the last four seasons despite having four different Week 1 starting quarterbacks.
“I think it’s a good sign when you got quarterbacks that want to be in your organization,” Ballard said (this applies to the Colts signing Philip Rivers two years ago, too). “They’re not coming if you’re just a dysfunctional mess.
“… I think it’s a good sign for Frank and who he is was a coach. It’s also a good sign of the players we have on our roster and what people around the league are saying talking about our program.”
So the Colts were lucky Ryan became available, but it wasn’t a fluke that he wanted to come to a team coached by Reich and built by Ballard.
It takes more than good fortune for a quarterback to feel the way Ryan does about Indianapolis, after all.
“As I looked into it, I knew there was only one spot that I wanted to go,” Ryan said. “There was no doubt that if I were to make a move, this is exactly where I wanted to be.”