Colts-Lions workouts feature 3 Super Bowl starting QBs
WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) — Jared Goff grew up watching and admiring Matt Ryan from afar.
Eventually, the two quarterbacks began training at the same offseason facility, developed a friendship, and shared a Super Bowl legacy. When they were reunited this week in joint training between the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions, Nick Foles was added to the club.
Together, the trio gave suburban Indy fans a rare two-day treat — three Super Bowl starters throwing passes during an open practice.
“I would say it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime moment,” said Foles, one of 22 quarterbacks to be named Super Bowl MVP. “I think when you have three guys who have played in the Super Bowl, it’s pretty special to be on one court.”
How unusual is that?
Foles, Lions center Frank Ragnow and Colts safety Rodney McLeod couldn’t recall another time this had happened in their careers. And until he was paired with Foles this season, Ryan, 37, had never played with a quarterback who threw a Super Bowl pass.
Because it’s such a small fraternity and NFL careers are so short, it’s unclear when it last happened — outside of possibly a Pro Bowl.
Since Ryan won the NFC championship in his 2016 MVP season, only eight quarterbacks have made Super Bowl starts and nearly half of those were in Westfield, Indiana, this week.
“Dang, that’s sweet,” Ragnow said. “That experience is invaluable because you really can’t imitate playoff football, you really can’t imitate that moment, what you’re going to feel in that moment. Few people have that opportunity, so having that is special. for sure.
Colts coach Frank Reich understands this better than anyone.
Although he never started in the Super Bowl, he played a key role in Buffalo’s four straight seasons winning the AFC title. In January 1993, he orchestrated the biggest comeback in league history to win a wildcard game and keep the streak alive.
Today, he’s the only coach with two Super Bowl starters on the quarterback depth chart.
Naturally, there were times when Colts starter Ryan Foles and Lions replacement Goff dazzled fans.
While Goff took advantage of missed Colts coverage with a 50-yard TD pass on Thursday, Ryan made good throws in narrow windows against the Lions defense about 100 yards out with fans of both teams cheering loudly.
Unfortunately, the guys couldn’t really enjoy the show.
“I haven’t seen a single representative of him (Ryan) because I was on the other court,” Goff said Wednesday. “But it was good talking to him for five minutes. He’s a great guy and a guy I’ve become friends with.
The defenses haven’t had much rest either.
With Goff trying to lead the Lions to their first playoff spot since 2016 and Ryan and Foles teaming up in a bid to end Indy’s two-year absence from the playoffs, they created the constant challenges that Reich and Lions coach Dan Campbell were expecting.
“You want to compete against the best and that means something,” Reich said. “You have a quarterback who has led a team to the Super Bowl, that’s rare. As a defensive unit on both sides of the ball, it’s a great opportunity to test yourself.
The rest of the world won’t see many quarterbacks in Saturday’s preseason game.
Reich said he and Campbell previously talked about limiting their regular starters during the game, as has become the custom during joint practice week. Foles is expected to play around a quarterback.
The Colts also placed rookie tight end Drew Ogletree on the disabled list. The sixth-round draft pick was No. 3 on the depth chart after an impressive camp, but tests confirmed he suffered an ACL tear in his right knee on Wednesday.
“That’s all it was, thank goodness. It could have been something else and it wasn’t, so it’s usually a nine-month timeline,” Reich said.
Campbell said receiver Devin Funchess, who also left Wednesday practice early, suffered a right shoulder injury. Funchess tweeted that “everything is fine”.
Without major injuries, without jostling, not even a spat on Thursday, the three quarterbacks took center stage: Ryan, Foles and Goff, who faced New England in successive Super Bowls. Foles sandwiched his victory around the two losses suffered by Ryan and Goff, then with the Los Angeles Rams.
“It’s definitely rare,” Foles said. “I think we’re all focused right now on our current foundations and taking the wisdom we’ve learned from those games and trying to bring it with how we play the game now.”
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