Reggie Wayne’s Peyton Manning-Matt Ryan comp is ideal for Colts
By Adam Weinrib
The Indianapolis Colts are about to enter their third straight NFL season with a new QB, but the overall output hasn’t been bad thus far considering the organization was thrown into chaos.
Typically, teams with this much turnover are mismanaged, continually fumbling the No. 1 pick and piling up their stopgap signal callers like they’re putting duct tape on an old Browns jersey. Indy, on the other hand, went directly from the gunslinging of Peyton Manning into the professorial Andrew Luck … who then tossed the team into turmoil with his abrupt retirement.
Philip Rivers? End of his rope, but not a bad rope. Carson Wentz? Worked until it didn’t, but proved this roster was a QB away.
Now, with the addition of Matt Ryan, owner Jim Irsay seems to be hoping he’s set for three or four years at the position. And new coach/experienced Colts legend Reggie Wayne seems to feel the same way.
This week, Wayne praised Ryan with the ultimate comparison to Peyton Manning. But, before you laugh and start citing Ryan’s statistics following his 2016-17 MVP campaign, the superstar wideout wasn’t talking about compiling yardage or touchdowns. He was referring to what he perceived behind the scenes: Ryan’s advanced leadership, which is exactly where you want to see overlap between his tenure and Manning’s.
Colts’ Reggie Wayne sees Peyton Manning in Matt Ryan behind the scenes
As told to Joel A. Erickson in the Indy Star:
"“Man, it makes me almost want to throw up, because he reminds me of Peyton so much,” legendary Colts receiver Reggie Wayne said. “He’s the epitome of a leader. In the meetings, he’s vocal, he’s trying to get that connection with the receivers, trying to get extra (work) as much as possible.”"
Well, hold that puke, Reggie, because everything you mentioned sounds great, actually.
Per Erickson’s piece, Wayne isn’t the only one to have picked up on these types of vibes. According to Head Coach Frank Reich, Ryan has preached simplicity behind the scenes in an effort to nail down a relaxed mindset/create muscle memory for winning football.
Now, does that ring a bit hollow coming from the quarterback behind the biggest single-game collapse in Super Bowl history? Sure. But it likely stems from that moment, when Ryan watched his play-caller and head coach panic, leading to the foundation crumbling around him. The more this Colts team breathes on a daily basis, the more likely it is that Week 17 and the postseason feels like a familiar exercise. That’s what Ryan wants to bring to this experienced roster.
The Colts have been close for several years now, but have lacked a quarterback who feels any responsibility for the ensuing season. Wentz could probably smell the end of his tenure, and Rivers, God love him, had one foot in high school football sweatpants. He basically showed up to the Bills playoff game wearing a whistle and a visor.
Ryan? From Wayne to Reich to Jim Irsay, who called him an astronaut-type leader (???), this organization seems to feel like they’ve finally found their first Peyton since Peyton.