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Bridges: Surrounding cast will determine Ryan’s fate

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Sometimes in life a change can be beneficial. Other times it simply resets the clock and ends up producing nothing in terms of overall improvement.

Now that the Indianapolis Colts have run Carson Wentz out of town on a rail and acquired his successor, what are the realistic expectations for one Matthew Thomas Ryan?

On the surface, it appears that a durable, experienced quarterback, one bound for Canton when he hangs up his cleats, has been acquired for very little and at the same time cleared the books on what Wentz was owed. Toss in some draft capital included in the deal for the outgoing field general and the result of all this quarterback maneuvering appears to have some promise written upon it.

Then again, we’ve been down this road before with Colts owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard as they continue to shop the clearance rack for the best available replacement for Andrew Luck.

From Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers and the aforementioned Wentz, the carousel continues to rotate with no real solution in sight.

One might take those critical comments as a slam of the newly acquired Ryan, but you’d be incorrect in the process.

The guy has enough left in the tank to help the Colts and provide some stability at the quarterback position, but he can’t play left tackle or line up as an edge rusher on Sundays.

He also won’t suit up at wideout each game or be the lockdown cornerback the team so desperately needs.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention tight end and linebacker too.

I really don’t look for him to lead the Colts in tackles or sacks either, but hey, I’ve been wrong about these things before, so we’ll wait and see.

Yes, Ryan is the key piece to a playoff berth, but by no means can he cure all that ails this franchise. Wentz found out pretty quickly last season what it was like to run for one’s life as you’re looking for a legit No. 1 receiver downfield and don’t see one anywhere.

In a game predicated on speed, the Colts simply don’t have enough on the edge or the corner, and that’s a gargantuan problem when trying to be competitive consistently in the NFL.

With an inordinate amount of cap space at their disposal, you’d think the Colts would be active in the free agency market, but that’s not the case.

Some of that may be attributed to a lack of what they’re looking for on the market, but at some point the dice must be rolled in an attempt to augment the acquisition of Ryan. If that doesn’t happen then you better hit it big in the draft, and while Ballard has had some success in that, it’s no slam dunk there either.

Ryan was the proverbial best available quarterback and the deal has some positive attributes, but despite his incredible durability throughout his career, he can’t survive the gauntlet he’s likely to be facing behind an offensive line pinning their hopes on a physically shot left tackle and a receiver core lacking a legitimate No. 1 who can get deep quickly.

Jonathan Taylor is a huge asset, but in today’s pass-happy NFL, you can’t simply run the football every down.

The real question here is if a second guessing, Jimmy Olsen wannabe like yours truly can figure it out, why can’t Ballard and company do the same?

Danny Bridges, who thinks Colts season ticket holders are some of the most forgiving fans in NFL history, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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