Offseason Wishlist for 2022

It's back to the drawing board for Ballard and the Colts after what can only be described as a step back from last season -- no playoff berth, two fewer wins despite more games played, holes that continue to go unfilled or poorly patched over.

Overall, Indy continues to have many strengths on paper. Jonathan Taylor fully emerged into an MVP-caliber star this season. The offensive line has four of its five positions presumably filled for the future, including a new deal for Braden Smith and likely a new contract for Big Q Nelson. Pittman shows promise as a true No. 1 WR on the offense (though this might be a bit of a controversial opinion), Darius Leonard is a DPOY candidate and should be an All-Pro again with Buckner, and Kenny Moore isn't as bad as his last two games in Indy blue.

What, then, can be done to ensure the Colts regain ground next season? I propose a wishlist of things I hope Ballard, Reich and the rest of the team do differently next year.

Big-ticket items:

1. Give Wentz One Last Chance.
I think this is a certainty, so I might as well get on board with it now. Wentz has a good salary next year and will be playing for his future on an expiring deal. Put him in the best possible position to succeed by bringing in another dangerous WR, considering investing in another TE, and stop putting him in positions where he has to be the hero -- even if you think he could use the confidence boost, Frank. Indy's got to do its best to turn Wentz into Kirk Cousins.

2. Bolster the WR room.
This is gonna be a bit of a mea culpa -- I definitely thought going into the year we were good at WR and said as much. Wentz showed some success with Pascal, who I've always thought was a little underrated. Pittman is going to be VERY good. T.Y. just couldn't stay healthy, which sucks because I think he actually had a better year than last season in the flashes we saw. And Campbell is an unfortunate punchline at this point. I think a quick retrofit could make a big difference -- ditch Campbell and bring in someone who can match up with Pittman as a solid 1-2 punch. If T.Y. wants to come back at the vet. min. as a fourth or fifth WR, I still value his leadership and experience. Unlike Campbell, he had big plays in the games he played.

3. Figure Out Left Tackle.
This is a massive, massive priority. Injuries and missing AC really derailed the Indy O-line this season. If it can be shored back up, that's even more meat on the bone for JT next year and less heat on Wentz. Following a theme here -- lessen the load on the QB, make his life easier. Not familiar with the tackle class coming out this year, but the draft would obviously be my preference -- though if a trade rears its head, that would be great and possibly a quicker solution. Got to maximize the window!

4. (Continue) To Address EDGE.
So, Paye is not going to be a first-year wonder. That's OK, he's got a bright future and not everyone shows in their rookie year -- especially after picking up a quad injury. Plenty of time for him to turn into a No. 1. However, Indy CANNOT have another season in which rotation-caliber players are asked to carry the load of starter studs. Letting vets walk and expecting rookies to step into the void without a hitch is not sustainable. Buckner needs some damn help out there.

5. Commit to Free Agency
There needs to be a philosophy change in the front office. The team cannot continue to patch holes with bargain-bin guys off the waiver wire. If Ballard is unable to find a suitable fit for a need through the draft, he needs to prepare to be aggressive elsewhere... and the most obvious area is free agency. Hey, wouldn't have minded Trey Hendrickson and his 14 sacks opposite Paye this season!

6. Stop Getting Cute On Offense
Way, way too many games this season in which Jonathan Taylor didn't get enough touches. He needs to be getting 25+ a game, and more of those need to come from low-mileage checkdowns taken out of bounds for five or six yards. Additionally, quit abandoning the run when you think the going is getting tough or the game is out of reach. JT continues to be effective in those situations, and has some of the best home-run ability in the league at his position. Keep the offense on schedule, and allow Wentz to face more 3rd and 3 situations instead of third and long. It is possible to have a balanced approach that is still run-heavy and still features JT to the fullness of his abilities -- we saw it a few times this year. Also, what's the deal with Hines? Frank finally stopped running him up the gut, but only because he... stopped using him altogether? Confusing. Get him more involved next year in areas in which he's good -- open space.

Stocking stuffers:

Just never felt like Indy was set at CB this year, despite Rock Ya-Sin taking a step forward I wasn't expecting. Injuries were a part of that, but there is some serious questions in the depth department. Plus I fully expect Rhodes to not be brought back after Ballard made it very transparent with consecutive cheapo one-year deals that he's only interested in leaching out whatever usefulness Xavier has -- and I think after this season we're going to be looking at rapidly diminishing ROI.

Tight End
Apparently we spend a 4th-round pick on a TE last year, but you wouldn't know it. Maybe he takes a step forward, maybe he doesn't, but I think Indy needs to plan for Doyle to retire and that likely means bringing in a blocking-specialist vet if they like Granson. Not convinced Mo has much of a future here.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.