Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan will be benched the remainder of the season for second-year signal caller Sam Ehlinger, head coach Frank Reich announced Monday following the Indianapolis Colts’ 19-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Ehlinger, the 2021 sixth round draft pick out of Texas, will get his first NFL start when he starts for the Colts on Sunday against the Washington Commanders.
“Right now, the move is for Sam to be the starter the rest of the season,” Reich told reporters Monday. “It’s a big step, but we think he’s ready. This guy’s special. You all know it, everybody knows it. Just talk to anybody in that locker room.”
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Reich explained that Ryan suffered a Grade 2 shoulder separation but that the switch would’ve happened regardless of the injury.
“The shoulder injury is real, but this move was going to be made either way.”
Reich also noted that the decision to bench the 15-year veteran did not come as a result of Sunday’s game.
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“This is another point that need to be made crystal clear, and I told this to Matt — we did not hold up our end of the bargain here, right. I mean, you came here, and we promised you one of the top NFL rushing games, and we promised you great protection, and we haven’t really as an offense delivered on that, and that starts with me,” he explained.
“This was a decision made based off watching the tape on him, seeing he’s been productive in play-action, we can provide him a great running game, give him good protection — he’s older, so doesn’t run around a lot, but we can give him good protection. And as an offense, I think we’re making strides to that, but we’re not there yet.”
Through Week 7, Ryan leads the league in interceptions thrown (9) and fumbles (11). The Colts offense has also allowed 59 hits and 24 sacks — tying the Cincinnati Bengals for the most allowed this season.
Ryan will not practice this week due to injury, Nick Foles will serve as backup on Sunday against Washington.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.