Jim Irsay: I’ve been around leaders, and I’d put Matt Ryan up there with Peyton Manning

Colts owner Jim Irsay is offering some awfully high praise for quarterback Matt Ryan.

Irsay told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that Ryan is a leader along the lines of Peyton Manning, who led the Colts for 13 seasons.

“I’ll tell you, he is a steely-eyed missile man,” Irsay said of Ryan. “I’ve been around a lot of leaders and I’d put him right up there with Peyton Manning. A really outstanding, tough guy who doesn’t back down. Often the best in fourth quarter and you don’t ever want to count out Matt Ryan. He’s a winner, he’s a fighter and our team is taking on that temperament around him, which is exciting. More will be revealed, no question about it. But we’re encouraged, we really are.”

Irsay thinks the Colts should expect to be hosting a playoff game in January.

“I believe we’re playing ourselves into being an outstanding team,” Irsay said. “And I think we can be the best team in the division. We just have to go and prove it.”

The AFC South is wide open, and the Colts certainly have a chance. Even if Irsay sounds just a bit overly optimistic.