In recently watched Ballard’s end of season presser. My impression was we will see more of the same from him, with the exception of TE. He is likely to address TE. He said " TE position needs work." At WR, CB looks to be much more sanguine about what he has. Personally, I think he has Pittman and some ordinary guys. But CB likes his young guys. Players like Patmon, Dulin, Strachan, and free agent Pascal.
At QB, CB has dropped his " it’s not about one guy " baloney. He finally admits the " hyper importance of that position is real." He said " We must get stability at the QB position." " Must get consistency there." That’s all good. But he goes on to say " There’s a solution for that year coming up. But it might not be the long term solution. " Sounds like Wentz or some other flavor of the year veteran for 2022. At least he is saying " Our passing game has to be better. We have to rush the passer better too." He admits it’s a passing league." Hopefully his team building philosophy is evolving. We’ll see what he actually does.
At LT, CB says he is " Looking for the long term answer. But if we have to short term fix LT again, we’ll do it." He also thinks " Fisher has some good football left in him." Castonzo warned him, a year before he retired, that he was contemplating retirement. LT is the second most important position on a football team. The position should have already been addressed. In the 2020 draft, Mekhi Becton could have been had. Tristan Wirfs could have been had. I know he’s a RT. We had the # 13 pick, before the Buckner trade. Becton is rated the # 17 OT in the league, by Profootballnetwork.com. Wirfs is the # 6 OT. In my opinion, LT trumps a three technique DT. That’s because the LT protects the jewel of the franchises blind side.
So, is CB building it correctly for a dome team, playing in the AFC south? Is he building it correctly, in today’s AFC, considering all the great, and potentially great, young QB’s. Bill Polian when he was speaking to how Grigson built the team, said " This new staff came in and said, We’re going to get big road graders, run and stop the run. " He goes on to ask if that’s the way to do it " In Indianapolis? With Andrew Luck? In a division where you play 10 games in perfect weather every year? You have to beat Brady and the Pats. And, you want to come in and play like your playing in the AFC north."
Obviously, Andrew Luck is long gone, and so is Brady. But the point is still applicable. We play in a dome. The vast bulk of our games are played in ideal, or good weather conditions. We have to be able to throw the ball, as well as run it. Pass protection matters. Receiving weapons matter, QB matters. Edge rushers matter. Going forward, if we bring in a long term LT, we want one that is equally good at pass blocking, as run blocking. Brady is gone. But Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Herbert, Lamar, and Lawrence, in our division, are not gone. There are other potential good young QB’s in Zack Wilson, Mac Jones, and Tua.
So the question is can you win two Lombardi’s, the owners goal, in today’s AFC, building your team like you play in Green Bay, Wisconsin, as opposed to a domed stadium? I think it will be very difficult. You build your team for where you play, not where the team in Buffalo plays. At some point, the Colts will have to stop short term fixing the two most important positions in football. At some point, the Colts will have to find a premium pass rusher, to get after the other teams passer. At some point, we will need to find another high quality receiving option. Hitting on non-premium positions is fine. And, it’s easier. But, sooner or later, CB will need to hit on the three most important positions in football, QB, LT, and edge.
Hitting on the premium positions will likely not come cheap. Other teams are not chomping on the bit to hand the Colts a franchise QB, a stud LT, or a premium edge rusher. Those positions have to be drafted, probably high in the first round, and developed. CB has had opportunities to draft a franchise QB, 2018, and 2020. He has had opportunities to draft the other two positions as well. At some point, Ballard is going to have to man up and draft these critical positions. If he continues to be unwilling to take, high first round, risk at these positions, Irsay may need to find a GM who will take that risk. Not trying should not be an option.