clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Rivalry Is Back On

Recap of Chris Ballard’s Press Conference

NFL: AUG 11 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Given the events of the past five days the Colts brass believed it would be a good idea to hold a press conference. What followed was a masterclass in machismo from Chris Ballard. I was able to take notes throughout, here is my recap:

  • Ballard begins by discussing the deaths of Edwin Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe. He discussed how much it had impacted him and everyone in the Colts building. He said that on Sunday he wasn’t even thinking about the head coaching search and that this event should help to keep things in perspective. Nothing is promised.
  • This was a very sobering few moments that set the tone for the rest of his time at the podium. It was an instant reminder of who Chris Ballard is.

Next he focused his attention on the coaching search.

  • He called the event with McDaniels an “incident” and explicitly said the words “Josh backed out”
  • “We had an agreement in place... we followed all the rules and did everything right... Had a plan in place”
  • Ballard stated that he received a call around 7 PM from McDaniels, saying he had changed his mind. He then told Mr. Irsay. Said they will keep moving forward.
  • “Obstacles happen... overcoming hard times is what makes football great...”
  • “It’s the mentally tough, gritty people who overcome these things that are successful... that’s what this city is built on... that’s what this organization is built on” He talked about being proud of Indianapolis for how they responded to the passing of Edwin Jackson and now McDaniels. -He wasn’t born a Hoosier, but I think he deserves the title.

Now he opens the floor for questions.

  • Did They know he was going to back out:

No. Not at all

  • What Josh Said on the phone:

He said he had bad news for me, I said I just need a yes or no answer from you are you in or out? We went around for a minute and he said he’s out and I said okay.

  • On persuading McDaniels to change his mind:

There was no persuasion. (The look on Ballard’s face when he said this is intimidating and I’m currently 600 miles away from him) Let me make this clear. I want and we want as an organization a head coach that wants to be all in. We got work to do... I want somebody that’s 100% committed...

  • On what’s going to happen with coaches recently signed:

The staff is important, it’s critical. It’s a big part of the coaching search you’re trying to see his judgement by who he’s choosing to be on his staff. It just so happens the coaches that we have on board I was fully committed to.

He went on to talk about the system that both the Bears and Colts ran for a lot of years (4-3 cover 2 heavy if you’re wondering). He said he believed in it and trusts and values the opinion of Rod Marinelli and that he has known Matt Eberflus for a few years and is a big fan of the newly signed defensive coordinator.

“I feel lucky to have him in the building running a scheme that I think fits our team, that we can scout for and fits our building. We’re playing on an indoor surface we’re going to be playing in ideal weather for 8 to 12 games a year that’s going to be based on athletic ability and speed, and that’s what this defense... that’s how it’s built.”

He says it’s a simple scheme and lets young guys play fast and physical. He mentioned the other coaches as good coaches and said “They will be on the staff. We will not abandon them.”

  • On if having a DC in place will tie his hands:

No it wont. Says talks with candidates and says they’re all on board.

  • Any timetable:

No. Goes on rant about timing, taking his time and getting it right. Says it doesn’t matter if he’s first or last he wants to be right.

  • Perception that something is wrong with Luck:

It’s never about one guy. It’s about the team.

  • Josh give you any indication why:

“I live in a black and white world, either you’re in or your out. I didn’t want the explanation, either you’re in or you’re out.”

  • If you had it to do over again would you have announced it before contract was signed:

Ballard said that he thought a lot about that and that he was very confident and that a deal was in place. He accepted responsibility for that mistake. Took it on the chin, like a man should.

  • Contact with other coaches since deciding on McDaniels:

Long story short: no.

  • Coaches that were candidates before are they back in the running:

No. We’re moving on. Talks about the time frame being tough to fit everyone in, in the playoffs and when you think you’ve found the right guy you move forward. He talked about having a great list of guys.

  • So you vetted a lot of people:

He’s vetted a lot of people that he never interviewed. Says he’s always evaluating people and getting to them. Says it’s his nature.

  • Dumb question about time frame:

Equal response.

  • How is Andrew:

“Let’s talk about Andrew, cause a lot of rumors, everybody’s an expert, everybody is an expert on this right now. And all we can do, is number one I’m gonna listen to Andrew Luck, who I absolutely believe in and trust. I’mma listen to the doctors that he is talking to and dealing with. And I’m gonna listen to the guy that’s training him right now. And at this point we feel very strongly that Andrew’s in a good place, he doesn’t need surgery, I’ve not gotten that from the two doctors that he’s seen, here in the... after the season. His strength is good, he’s working on his throwing motion and he’s working on his arm speed right now. He’s not picked up a football, but he’s throwing balls working on arm speed. He is gonna do everything... he is not gonna skip a step, if you know Andrew, Andrew’s not gonna skip a step. He’s gonna do everything right to get himself ready to play and I’m very confident, he’s very confident that he’s gonna come back and prove a lotta people wrong.”

  • How much can doctors assess need for another surgery:

With a shoulder don’t know if you can ever accurately assess where you’re at. Said it’s subjective. Reiterates confidence going forward.

  • Did Josh talk to Andrew:


  • Is there any recourse in this, when it’s all said and done do you go to the NFL and rethink interview rules:

Gives non answer about rules being the same for everyone.

  • Another question about time:

Ballard talks about coaches in other sports. Tells a story about Tony Dungy and taking his time to fill out his staff in Tampa Bay and the fact they interviewed him four times before they hired him.

  • Stupid question:

One word answer.

  • Asked a question about a rumor:

Gave a long answer most interesting part “Everyone’s got a take, some are true, some are not.”

  • What time did you get the call? How long did it last:

7:30 or 7:15. Ballard was in draft meetings when he took the call. Said it lasted maybe 5 minutes.

“Let me say this Josh McDaniels is a good football coach and I wish him the best going forward.”

  • You’re a calm reserved guy, outwardly, were you PO’d, did you punch the wall or anything?

Ballard drops his head and flashes a big smile at “did you punch the wall or anything”

“I did... look here I’m competitive and I wanna win um I think over time I’ve grown and matured I still have my moments in the press conference I mean uh press box I think a few of you have seen em, my little moments. But look things work out for a reason there’s been a lot of instances in this league, maybe not to this extreme, but just because you’re the first choice doesn’t make you the right choice. It’s about getting the right guy and I think you can all look it up sometimes things work out the way they’re supposed to work out.”

Emphasis mine. Translation of the above quote: I was very upset.

  • What was Mr. Irsay’s reaction when you told him?

As animated as I’ve ever seen Chris Ballard:

“There’s no doubt he’s competitive.” -Translation hell hath no fury like Jim Irsay scorned.

Ballard laughs at what he’s just said. When asked to elaborate:

“I couldn’t work for, we’re fortunate this city’s fortunate to have him as an owner. I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else and for a better man who stands for the right things and wants to win. Unequivocally wants to win.”

  • Do you blame the patriots specifically:

“Josh called me, made a decision he’s not commin’. I don’t deal with new england, I have no idea what they’re thinkin’.”

  • Do you feel betrayed:

“No. People make decisions people tell people no everyday... He chose not to be an Indianapolis Colt, that’s okay. We’ll move forward.”

  • Josh reached out to Irsay:

No knowledge of that.

End of questioning.

The next thing that happened, I can’t do justice with words. Just watch: