INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a word that you do not often hear from coaches/general managers, but the Colts have used it several times this offseason.
One definition states friction as: conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions.
Chris Ballard made sure to use the word ‘friction’ when talking to his team on the day after they finished 7-9 to end the 2019 season:
“We need a little more friction,” Ballard said of the message to his team. “The team runs it. It does. They run it. Coaches, we’re going to give you direction, we’re going to give you where you need to go, but the locker room, we’re going to go as they go. And there’s got to be a little more friction within it and pure accountability, and they have to be willing to challenge each other. They do, to an extent. They practice hard, but there’s got to be a little bit more challenging aspect to each other, that when things aren’t going right, when things aren’t getting done the right way, they’ve got to be able to challenge each other to do it the right way.”
At this week’s Combine, Frank Reich joined in on the friction fun:
“Friction, Chris made a big deal about that,” Reich began. “I think that’s competition. I think that’s getting guys who have that competitive spirit, who the status quo is not enough, and we’re going to hold each other accountable, we’re going to fight hard to get better, so don’t get in the way. If you get in the way, we’re not going to walk by that. We’re going to call that out. So I think that’s what we’re talking about.”
Clearly, the consistent and necessary accountability to maintain a high-level of preparation (and play) was not there for the Colts in 2019.
Ballard has admitted that he thinks his team started to read the press clippings a bit too much following its 5-2 start.
What followed was a 2-7 finish to the season as the Colts went from a team in contention for a potential bye to the 10th position in the AFC.
Hearing Ballard stress this point is another reason why the Colts are more willing to spend this offseason.
It’s all about trying to create more friction this offseason.
“We have good guys. We have a good locker room. (But) we talked a lot at the end of the season about needing more friction,” the GM says. “Lord knows, I’ve had a lot of talks with our players about that.”