In an interview with The Athletic’s Robert Mays of ‘The Athletic Football Show,’ Colts’ GM Chris Ballard spoke on several different aspects of the team. Of the things Ballard talked about, the necessary steps and overall process which went into acquiring QB Carson Wentz was one of the first things.
“One thing Frank does is he builds great relationships with players,” Ballard said. “After the season, when we started hearing Carson could be available, we had long discussions about him.”
Even with interest on both Wentz’s and Indy’s side, Ballard mentioned having long, thorough discussions with multiple people inside the organization.
“When I started talking to Howie (Roseman) in Philly, we really delved into it — and it wasn’t just Frank and I,” Ballard said, “We have some really good scouts in our building, and some really good coaches. Ultimately, Frank and I and Jim (Irsay) made the decision, but we wanted to get their take on what they thought.”
One of the most telling parts of the entire interview, though, was Ballard’s confidence and belief in not just their recently-acquired QB Carson Wentz, but head coach Frank Reich’s ability to put Wentz in the appropriate situation on the football field.
“Look, Carson’s got some things that he’s got to do better, and he’s worked really hard this offseason on them, Ballard said. “But I think it’s gonna be fun to watch this year — I think it’s gonna be fun to watch Carson and our team come together and play together.”
Additionally, Ballard recognizes that, even with the work Wentz, Reich and others within the offensive staff are putting in this offseason, that doesn’t mean there won’t be potential adverse barriers to overcome this season.
“It’s always great, ‘cause everybody thinks it’s gonna be rosy right from the start,” Ballard said. “But there’s always gonna be a bumpy road. I mean, there just is.”
Ballard goes on to mention how the Colts came across a similar situation last season, too, stating, “I remember last year with Philip (Rivers), like the first four or five games of the season, the sky is falling at all points.”
“It’s a long season, Ballard continued; you gotta be able to handle that. Carson will handle that because Frank and Marcus (Brady) and our staff will do a good job of handling it.”
What swayed Ballard to pull the trigger on acquiring the big-armed QB, you might ask? Well, Reich’s conviction and belief in Wentz certainly helped the cause.
“I believe in him. Easy,” Ballard said. “I believe in him. “When you’ve got a coach that’s as good as Frank is — and I think he’s really special — I believe in Carson. Now, we studied it and we saw some things on tape that we thought he could do better, that needed work, but I believe in him. When he said I believe in him, it’s hard to argue with that.”
Reich, Brady and the rest of the offensive staff weren’t the only ones excited about acquiring the former MVP candidate either.
“I’m on board with this, too; I like Carson, too,” Ballard said. “Loved him coming out of North Dakota State, had a connection with his college coach, Craig Bohl, who recruited me in college, so I had a lot of insight to Carson when he was coming out. Everybody focuses on the latest negative, but there sure was a lot positive early in his career.”
With the support of the coaching staff, GM and his fellow teammates behind him, Wentz, in my opinion, won’t be in a better situation from a cultural and roster standpoint than with the Colts. Now it’s up to him to take full advantage of the opportunities which lie ahead.