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

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Chris Ballard

Chris Ballard
Picture: Getty Photos

Through the Colts’ Monday press convention saying former All-Professional middle Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach, GM Chris Ballard expressed dissatisfaction with a number of elements of the staff, notably the offensive line.

The primary half of that assertion is what I need 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 most likely realizes what Ballard is saying. The Colts, and notably Ballard, had been ridiculed for years for not taking large 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 may’ve taken Abraham Lucas (I do know they want extra assist at left sort out than proper, but when they wished to bolster their offensive line so badly, he would’ve been a superb piece) or Nicholas Petit-Frere (similar scenario) however as an alternative they drafted Pierce. Now that the Colts’ offensive line is underperforming, Ballard needs he may 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 staff could be higher off than it at the moment is. That is likely to be true, but it surely wouldn’t clear up the problems plaguing this staff. No one within the 2022 draft would’ve saved this staff from the treadmill of mediocrity they’re at the moment using. Why? As a result of 2022 is an amalgamation of a number of issues that had been piling up for the reason that finish of the 2020 season, all because of Mr. Ballard.

Let’s discuss that offensive line. The left sort out 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 sort out to exchange him? No. They handed on elite prospect Christian Darrisaw and took Kwity Paye. At this level, the one left sort out on the Colts’ roster was Julie’n Davenport, who was, and nonetheless is, considered 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 value after signing with division rival, Tennessee.

Paye has been a high-quality 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 high-quality although. The Colts acquired their left sort out substitute in free company, signing former Kansas Metropolis Chief No. 1 general choose Eric Fisher to a one-year deal. That sounds good, proper? Effectively, Fisher was simply coming off an ACL harm, therefore why he couldn’t play within the Tremendous Bowl towards Tampa Bay. Primarily, the Colts didn’t pay considered one of their higher cross 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 recent off an ACL tear, whereas their backup was one of many worst tackles within the league. That checks out.

Fisher wasn’t a foul run blocker final yr. Nonetheless, in cross safety, you could possibly inform that he wasn’t what he was. 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 fee had elevated over three p.c from 2020 (8.37 p.c in 2021; 4.84 p.c in 2020) and it was clear he wasn’t their long-term resolution. Lo and behold, he’s not on the staff in 2022.

In the meantime, Darrisaw is killing it because the left sort out in Minnesota. Via eight video games, he’s permitting slightly a couple of pressure per game. He’s at the moment acquired an 84.6 cross blocking grade from PFF. That’s absurd. The Colts may have had him, however the resolution to let Autry stroll clouded their judgment. They needed to discover a substitute 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 advised you all! I didn’t need to draft a large receiver, however you all pressured my hand!” Certain, possibly the staff could be higher off with a rookie sort out as an alternative of Alec Pierce, however let’s not faux that the strikes that led thus far had been all perpetrated by Ballard as properly.

The pure awfulness of those strikes solely get amplified while you notice that the Colts uncared for their left sort out place simply earlier than buying and selling for Carson Wentz. Wentz is likely one of the worst quarterbacks within the league underneath strain. You’d suppose acquiring a younger, highly-touted left sort out would fall slightly greater on the Colts’ to-do listing 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 large receiver, however that’s the choice that ruined the whole lot? Man, what sort of backwards assertion was Ballard making an attempt to make?

Clearly, Ballard is simply upset by the implications of his personal actions. Fortunately, by taking part in just a bit sport of cause-and-effect, we will see proper by his facade. The Colts are a foul staff, 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.

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