The Indianapolis Colts had been ruined by Chris Ballard, not by drafting Alec Pierce

Chris Ballard

Chris Ballard
Picture: Getty Photographs

Throughout the Colts’ Monday press convention saying former All-Professional heart Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach, GM Chris Ballard expressed dissatisfaction with a number of components of the workforce, significantly the offensive line.

The primary half of that assertion is what I wish to have a look at.

“Y’all have been kicking the shit out of me for years for not drafting wideouts and impulsively now, I lookup and we’re underperforming on the offensive line.” That’s what Ballard stated.

Anybody who can put two and two collectively in all probability realizes what Ballard is saying. The Colts, and significantly Ballard, had been ridiculed for years for not taking extensive receivers. They’ve been skinny in that division ever since T.Y. Hilton missed practically half of the 2019 season and by no means recovered. So, after a lot outcry from the general public, the Colts used their first collection of the 2022 draft to take Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce. The Colts might’ve taken Abraham Lucas (I do know they want extra assist at left deal with than proper, but when they needed to bolster their offensive line so badly, he would’ve been piece) or Nicholas Petit-Frere (identical scenario) however as an alternative they drafted Pierce. Now that the Colts’ offensive line is underperforming, Ballard needs he might take again that choice.

Whereas Ballard isn’t upset with how Pierce is taking part in, he believes that if he drafted an offensive lineman as an alternative of Pierce, the workforce could be higher off than it at the moment is. That may be true, but it surely wouldn’t clear up the problems plaguing this workforce. No one within the 2022 draft would’ve saved this workforce from the treadmill of mediocrity they’re at the moment driving. Why? As a result of 2022 is an amalgamation of a number of issues that had been piling up because the finish of the 2020 season, all due to Mr. Ballard.

Let’s discuss that offensive line. The left deal with place has been in shambles ever since 10-year vet Anthony Castonzo retired following an injury-marred 2020 marketing campaign. Did the Colts draft a deal with to exchange him? No. They handed on elite prospect Christian Darrisaw and took Kwity Paye. At this level, the one left deal with on the Colts’ roster was Julie’n Davenport, who was, and nonetheless is, thought to be one of many worst tackles within the NFL. Paye, in the meantime, was meant to exchange Denico Autry, who walked in free company earlier within the offseason. Why did he stroll? As a result of the Colts low-balled him. He even threw shade on the Colts for not giving him what he was price after signing with division rival, Tennessee.

Paye has been a effective participant, but when the Colts had manned up and given Autry what he deserved, they might’ve been capable of draft Darrisaw. Additionally, Autry wouldn’t be decimating their battered offensive line twice a yr like he’s now. That’s effective although. The Colts acquired their left deal with alternative in free company, signing former Kansas Metropolis Chief No. 1 general choose Eric Fisher to a one-year deal. That sounds good, proper? Properly, Fisher was simply coming off an ACL harm, therefore why he couldn’t play within the Tremendous Bowl in opposition to Tampa Bay. Primarily, the Colts did not pay one in every of their higher move rushers, tried to exchange him within the draft, thus neglecting their offensive line, and tried to repair the offensive line with a 30-year-old contemporary off an ACL tear, whereas their backup was one of many worst tackles within the league. That checks out.

Fisher wasn’t a nasty run blocker final yr. Nonetheless, in move safety, you may inform that he wasn’t what he was once. He’d misplaced a step, and surrendered seven sacks and 11 quarterback hits, each tied for the most of his career since 2014. His strain price had elevated over three % from 2020 (8.37 % in 2021; 4.84 % in 2020) and it was clear he wasn’t their long-term resolution. Lo and behold, he’s not on the workforce in 2022.

In the meantime, Darrisaw is killing it because the left deal with in Minnesota. By eight video games, he’s permitting a bit of multiple pressure per game. He’s at the moment acquired an 84.6 move blocking grade from PFF. That’s absurd. The Colts might have had him, however the choice to let Autry stroll clouded their judgment. They needed to discover a alternative pass-rusher ASAP. So, if anybody was neglecting the offensive line in Indy, it was Ballard previous to the 2021 offseason.

Now Ballard needs to sit down on his excessive horse and say “Neener, neener! I instructed you all! I didn’t wish to draft a large receiver, however you all pressured my hand!” Positive, perhaps the workforce could be higher off with a rookie deal with as an alternative of Alec Pierce, however let’s not faux that the strikes that led so far had been all perpetrated by Ballard as properly.

The pure awfulness of those strikes solely get amplified while you understand that the Colts uncared for their left deal with place simply earlier than buying and selling for Carson Wentz. Wentz is likely one of the worst quarterbacks within the league below strain. You’d suppose acquiring a younger, highly-touted left deal with would fall a bit of greater on the Colts’ to-do record with that call.

Moreover, it’s not like Ballard was pressured into drafting quite a few wideouts. He drafted one…singular…on this most up-to-date draft. One extensive receiver, however that’s the choice that ruined every little thing? Man, what sort of backwards assertion was Ballard making an attempt to make?

Clearly, Ballard is simply upset by the results of his personal actions. Fortunately, by taking part in just a bit recreation of cause-and-effect, we will see proper via his facade. The Colts are a nasty workforce, not as a result of he drafted Alec Pierce, however as a result of he made quite a few horrible personnel choices following the 2020 season. That’s the underside line.