The Indianapolis Colts made a GM change this offseason because their roster clearly wasn’t good enough, and Chris Ballard has been busy at work trying to fix that over the past few months.
One of the big benefits about this job, however, was that even though Ballard was inheriting one of the worst rosters in the NFL, he also was inheriting one of the league’s top quarterbacks in Andrew Luck. That provided him a luxury that very few new GMs get: to take over a team with a franchise player at the most important position in the game already in place.
Luck is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, and that’s great news for the Colts. It’s noticed by others, too, and because of Luck the Colts once again rank very highly in the ranking of the NFL’s best quarterback situations by Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty. The Colts rank third, up one spot from where they were a year ago. Here’s what Daugherty wrote:
The coronation seemed so close. The Colts made the playoffs Andrew Luck’s rookie season, won a Wild Card game in his second and made the AFC Championship Game in his third. Everything was progressing on schedule. Except there is no such thing as “on schedule” in the NFL. Not in a league with this many injuries, and where teams are 53 players deep. Luck got hurt in 2015 and ex-GM Ryan Grigson’s roster got exposed. New GM Chris Ballard has spent the offseason digging out of his predecessor’s mess. Luck got a head start in 2016. Even though he was playing through a shoulder injury he suffered the previous September, Luck rebounded on his lost 2015 with the second best campaign of his career. Both his 7.78 YPA and 63.5 completion percentage were new personal bests. He missed a game with a concussion, and got his shoulder surgically repaired in January, but reminded why we were all so high on him in the first place. Luck’s health cannot be taken for granted behind an offensive line that remains one of the league’s shakiest, but things are back on the up and up in Indy. 28 in September, Luck’s ceiling remains multiple Super Bowl victories.
The Colts are behind only the Packers (1) and Seahawks (2) on the list, and they’re just ahead of the Falcons (4) and Buccaneers (5). As you probably can guess, this ranking of quarterback situations is different from just ranking the best quarterbacks (in which case Tom Brady and the Patriots would be higher than seventh). But in this ranking, performance is definitely taken into account, but so is age and the future. So the teams in the best situations are those with good quarterbacks already who likely have several years left to play as well.
That explains why the Colts are very high on this list, because they are in about as ideal of a scenario as any team in the league when looking at it this way. They have a guy who has played tremendous football since entering the league in Andrew Luck (besides for an injury-plagued 2016 season), and he’s just 27 years old too - meaning that he should still have another decade or so as the Colts’ signal-caller. That’s about as ideal as it gets.
The Colts are set up well both for 2017 and for the next decade at the quarterback position, so while Chris Ballard doesn’t have to worry about that, his job is to ensure that he surrounds Luck with enough talent to win championships. But again, his quest to build a Super Bowl team is helped out immensely by the fact that Andrew Luck is already in place. The Colts are very fortunate in that regard.