When all succesful teams are doing almost the same thing, then copying them is probably a good idea. This was not particularly the way Chris Ballard was thinking the past three seasons, experimenting with bridge quarterbacks, having some sort of success with Philip Rivers before collapsing spectacularly with Carson Wentz and then Matt Ryan. Ballard had a nice roster in place but no quarterback, and instead of doing like most of the great teams he chose a different path giving the reins to the aforementioned veteran quarterbacks, admittedly passing on trading up and drafting a signal-caller.
After a 4-12-1 season, with three different starting quarterbacks, a midseason head coach firing, and a seven game losing streak to end the year, the Colts and Ballard now have the perfect opportunity to start over, and finally do things right. With the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft the Colts are perfectly positioned to grab one of the four potential franchise quarterbacks there are. Now, more important than the quarterback is the head coach, as making a mistake here would pretty much ruin whatever young quarterback we decide to draft. Looking at the top tier quarterbacks in today’s NFL, and they all have more than decent coaches. Mahomes with Andy Reid, Burrow with Zac Taylor, Allen with McDermott, Hurts with Sirianni, Tua with McDaniel... a competent head coach works wonders for the development of your franchise quarterback (shocking right?). Now this is not going to be a rant against hiring Jeff Saturday, as that point is evidently clear and has already been made, but rather a look at the chance the Colts have to finally do things right, and give fans hope for the future.
Imagine what this team would look like if we manage to get a quarterback with the tools to become a top tier player in the NFL, and we pair him with an All-Pro caliber running back like Jonathan Taylor, young weapons like MPJ, Alec Pierce, and Jelani Woods, a proper offensive line (I am assuming the Colts manage to fill the hole at right guard) and a defense that gets the job done. Looking way down the line and assuming everything goes right, which is of course a massive assumption to make in the NFL, the Colts could very well have a nice championship window 2⁄3 years from now as most of the young quarterbacks will be eating most of their team’s salary cap as they get their massive second contract, while the Colts are enjoying a quarterback on a rookie contract and with the Colts’ questionable salaries (Ryan Kelly, Matt Ryan) fully off the books.
The rumoured favourite right now according to Vegas is Giants’ defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, but the Colts are blocking their own defensive coordinator Gus Bradley from doing interviews, so clearly something is up here. If you ask me, I have a feeling the Colts want Eagles’ offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, but they have to wait up until the Super Bowl finishes, and they are keeping their options open until then in case he pulls a McDaniels. Personally I would love having Steichen as the head coach, and I am just salivating at the prospect of him and Anthony Richardson here, as that would be perhaps the closest thing to the Eagles’ current offense: A mobile quarterback, great running back, big #1 receiver, athletic tight end, and if everything goes well during the offseason a dominant offensive line once again.
Of course this is much easier said than done, but the Colts have to look at what the other succesful teams are doing and try to emulate them: get yourself a competent head coach that can lead a team and attract some quality coordinators, draft a young quarterback and develop him while also giving him some dangerous weapons, enjoy success.