So I took some time to let emotions calm a little and to assess what actually happened. First I want to get through my personal recap.
- The Colts will go 9-8 - Well I got this one spot on, not exactly how I thought they would get those 9 wins and 8 losses and I'm sure not happy about the record after watching the season, but I did believe this was a 9-8 roster.
- Jameis Winston over Carson Wentz (any other QB). Winston was my choice and after watching the season I still maintain it was the better option. Winston got hurt, which if that happened as a Colt obviously our season easily could have been worse than 9-8 but we'd still have our 3rd round pick last year and our 1st round pick this year and at least a few million in cap space (we would have had to pay more than NO did).
- Kwity Paye - I was skeptical and preferred Darrisaw. My biggest argument was lack of production from Paye. I think that question is out there a little, but he certainly performed better as a rookie than I expected. If he continues to grow then this will turn out to be a very good pick.
- Carson Wentz is a Colt next year. I just can't see another option here. If you honestly believed this roster was just a slight upgrade (a top 3 QB puts any team right there) from being a super bowl contender, then I can justify getting someone else. I don't think we are. So I can't justify trading more picks away and sinking $15 million in dead money to Wentz to bring in someone who's only a little better. This team is open about building through the draft (I agree with the approach), if you do that you can't trade all your picks.
- Free agency, we're going to need to fill some gaps over the next couple of years. We've traded away a few picks and missed on others, which is causing some holes. Pass Rush, WR, and Safety in particular. We also have holes at TE and depending who is resigned on the OL. We don't have enough draft capital to bring in the quality we need just in the draft. We need to sign some production.
- Frank Reich - He's tied to point #1. They bring back Carson and if he doesn't improve enough then it's a clean cut for both Wentz and Reich. Reich wanted Wentz and at the end of the day they're tied together now (Ballard isn't absolved here but we know it was Reich who was pushing). So if Wentz falters again and he's not resigned, then it seems like a natural place to split with both QB and Coach. I personally don't mind Reich as much as some others, but I do see the frustration points with not adapting well during the game (the scripted plays are usually very good). I also can't stand how long it takes to get the plays in. It happened last year too, we're always snapping the ball with 1 or 2 seconds on the play clock. That makes it easier for the defense to get off the ball.
- Wide Receivers - This is so tough because it's clear the production isn't there, but you've also invested in picks and time with a number of guys here. Pittman is staying obviously, but we need another receiver that's at least as good as him so we have a 1-2 punch. Hilton can't be back, it's just time unfortunately. Pascal is no more than a #3 guy. Dulin is a #4 guy because of his special teams. Patmon and Strachan are just end of roster guys at this point. They're not as young as you think (Patmon 23 and Strachan 24). It's not old but with these covid years some rookies coming in are going to be older and aren't going to have development time. I personally really like Patmon and want to see them keep him over Pascal and give him that shot. But we need at least 1 more playmaking WR. I said it last year and I'll say it again Campbell just can't stay on the field so he can't be expected to contribute. If he can stay healthy and performs, then it's just a bonus, but you can't plan to it.
- Ballard - He's not going anywhere anytime soon. I've been a little critical and I don't want to rehash everything, but he's top end GM in the league. You don't just replace though overnight very often. I do want to see him get back to his bread and butter and stop going for the "F U, I'm great" draft picks, like Ehlinger and Granson. They weren't early round picks so it's not the end of the world, but we do have needs and depth that we need to fill. Do that instead of reaching. Sean Davis type picks can't happen, we can't throw away a 4th round pick and not even get them to week 1. I know you're not going to hit all your picks, but we were signing safeties off the street, so there was opportunity there. Neither of our starting safeties are going to play all 17 games, they're going to get banged up. We need depth.
- 17 game season - This cost us the playoff spot. Not just in the sense that week 17 we were in and week 18 we were out. Our 17th game was against Tampa Bay, defending Super Bowl champs. That's going to happen to some team every year, but it hit us this year. The other teams that got in didn't get cupcakes but they also didn't get Tampa. I hate the 17 game schedule. I loved that the NFL had a pretty balanced regular season rotation, for a short season (MLB plays 162, NBA 82 so they can balance easier). It wasn't perfect, but this is a step in the wrong direction, at least until we get to a 20 game regular season.