Chris Ballard had his end of season press conference today at the Colts facility in front of the media. Ballard answered questions and spoke for over an hour covering an array of topics including the upcoming roster turnover during the off-season.
Ballard: Won't act like there won't be roster turnover. They've got to get better, improve and evaluate everything in their program.— Jake Arthur (@JakeArthurNFL) January 2, 2020
Ballard seems to indicate that there will be quite a bit of roster turnover this coming offseason. He doesn't like where they're at. He told the team as much. "To sit here and say that we’re not gonna have turnover on the roster, that would’ve been dishonest to them."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) January 2, 2020
Ballard was very open and honest during the press conference and when speaking of the roster mentioned there had to be turnover as the team needs to get better. When the team finished 7-9 there is a need to get better and it starts with looking at the roster. Ballard also mentioned that he was open with the team when he spoke to them about the upcoming roster turnover.
Revisiting Vinatieri at the end of February to see how he's rehabbed his knee before making judgements on his status moving forward.— Chris Blystone (@chrisblystone) January 2, 2020
One of the first players Ballard mentioned was veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri. He spoke of the lead up to the injury and then said that they were going to let Vinatieri rehab and the team would contact him in February to see how things were in his rehab process before making any decisions on what to do going ahead. Vinatieri is scheduled to be a free agent this off-season and there is a big decision to make on whether to re-sign him or not. Vinatieri had one of the worst seasons of his career as a pro and ended up on injured reserve.
Ballard: They like Chase McLaughlin. Singled out the 50-yarder in the grass against Jacksonville.— Jake Arthur (@JakeArthurNFL) January 2, 2020
Speaking of Colts kickers, Ballard was very complimentary of Chase McLaughlin, say they like him and mentioned his 50 yard kick again Jacksonville. McLaughlin was brought in as replacement for Vinatieri after he went to IR. McLaughlin has been nothing short of impressive since he came to Indianapolis, he came in at a very difficult time and had to kick in place of the greatest kicker of all time and he nailed it. He made all of his extra point attempts and only missed one field goal attempt.
Regarding Eric Ebron, Ballard said they'll probably move on.— Jake Arthur (@JakeArthurNFL) January 2, 2020
Ballard was asked about free agent to be tight end Eric Ebron and he gave a very blunt response that the team will probably be moving on from Ebron in the off-season. This almost certainly confirms that Ebron won’t be returning to the Colts next year. Ebron ended his season on injured reserve with “ankle” injuries.
It appeared to be a controversial ending to Ebron’s season as he gave the impression that he was battling through constant pain and felt like he couldn’t go on anymore. Whereas, the team seemed to give a polar opposite impression that Ebron had “given up” on the team, the timing of him going to IR certainly didn’t help his claim, 3 days after a divisional loss to the Houston Texans which knocked the Colts off the number 1 spot in the AFC South.
COLTS FANS‼️ I love you all! I’m sorry this year went the way it did, I myself put my heart in this game & did everything on my end to be a professional ALWAYS. Thank you for your support and making me a better person. I would never quit on u trust. ✌ #2020Vision— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) January 2, 2020
Eric Ebron quickly jumped on social media and appeared to all but confirm his departure from the Indianapolis Colts, he will head to free agency this off-season after a disappointing second year with the team.
On Quincy Wilson: "Started really good. Then we got healthy all the way through. A lot of it came down to special teams." Talked up Marvell Tell's ascension.— Chris Blystone (@chrisblystone) January 2, 2020
A lot of what happened with Quincy Wilson being inactive, Ballard says, comes down to special teams. If you're not one of the top 3 CBs, you have to play teams.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) January 2, 2020
Ballard spoke about another player who had a up and down year in cornerback Quincy Wilson. The Colts were seemingly set at the starting cornerback spots with Pierre Desir and Rock Ya-Sin on the outside and Kenny Moore manning the nickel spot. If a cornerback isn’t a top 3 corner on the team he has to play special teams and Wilson doesn’t, which led to his inactivity this past season.
Next year is a huge year for Wilson as he really needs to step up and show that he is worth keeping around. Wilson is undoubtedly a talented player but he just hasn’t managed to put it all together in Indianapolis. He is currently the teams 5th corner behind Desir, Moore, Ya-Sin and rookie Tell. If he wants to stick around he is going to need to become more consistent on defense and start playing special teams otherwise his time in Indy could be coming to an end.
On Jabaal Sheard: "Man, what a pro. Been fun to get to know him. The way he works, the way he is in the locker room. He just battles. He's a great teammate. I hold Jabaal Sheard, whatever his future may be, whether here or somewhere else, in high regard."— Chris Blystone (@chrisblystone) January 2, 2020
Ballard spoke about another soon to be free agent, Jabaal Sheard. Ballard was clearly full o praise for Sheard was very complimentary of him. He praise his locker room presence, his work ethic and his ability as a teammate. However, one thing Ballard was very uncommital on was Sheard’s status going forward as a member of the Colts. Sheard is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason and may or may not return. Sheard, 30, is coming off a less than impressive season which is his worse statistical year and also posted his worse PFF grade since coming to Indy in 2017. This could very well end up being Sheard’s last year in Indy.