INDIANAPOLIS – Jim Irsay acknowledges the elephant in the room and that’s why he will get involved with the monumental decision awaiting at the quarterback position.
This is different, especially for Irsay, who has watched Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck lead his franchise in 19 of his 23 seasons as Owner.
“Generally, almost always go along, in the end on draft day, Chris (Ballard) is going to make the call,” Irsay initially says. “The quarterback position, the three of us will make it. We have to. It’s too big of a decision. All options are on the table.
“I’ve never quite seen a year so unusual if you will. It’s exciting. I look at as a challenge. I don’t look at it as, ‘Oh god, what are we going to do?’ Not at all. I see great opportunity and have strong feelings about where this football team can go this decade.”
When Irsay begins to share his thoughts on the Colts quarterback situation, he sounds a lot like what Ballard says about things.
The Colts do like Jacoby Brissett: “I think that Jacoby is on the rise, and you’ve got to give him time to develop. People forget that Peyton, one of the greatest ever in my opinion, the greatest, I mean, 3-13 in ’98, 2001, 6-10. All of the sudden, Jacoby goes 7-9, it’s like the world’s falling apart. I mean, we had a lot of injuries, special teams wasn’t outstanding and the combination of those things and Jacoby being a starter for the first time, that’s a lot to overcome. I mean, 7-9 isn’t bad. We wanted to win the last game in Jacksonville. We were disappointed we couldn’t. We wanted to. But, right now, Jacoby is the starter. Hoyer, if that’s the backup – I think that’s our starting point, and I think that’s better than probably half the league.”
But they also know the magnitude at a position with many resources available this offseason: “You guys know how important that is. You know I know how important that is. I know we’ll find the right answer and Jacoby can have a much higher ceiling that he has now. That’s a possibility. We could draft someone. That’s a possibility. Doesn’t have to be the first round. There’s a lot of good players out there… Chris and Frank and I have really talked about this and, man. we’re really open-minded. There’s a lot of ways this thing could turn.”
Irsay being involved in such a decision, which isn’t a surprise, does bring about a couple of thoughts:
-Is Irsay impatient that his franchise has missed the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years, thus he would want a veteran to enter the mix to try and improve this team as quick as possible in the short term?
-Or does Irsay’s first-hand experience with terrific quarterback play mean he would like to see the franchise explore the highest ceiling option possible this offseason?
When Irsay views the ideal blueprint for building a successful NFL franchise, he believes the Colts have 3 of the 4 pieces in place.
The person under center.
“I’m of the belief that we have one of the top three head coaches in the league and we have a great general manager,” Irsay says. “It’s a four-leg stool — I’ve always talked about it: general manager, head coach, owner, quarterback. And so we’re trying to figure out that fourth peg at that quarterback position, and so we’re hopeful.
“I like a lot of things about Jacoby, I have to admit (though)…this is really unusual, I’ve been in the league almost a half a century, and I’ve never really been through something this different, if that’s the word. It’s nice because I think there’s multiple choices on a solution if you pick, but it’s also hard because you have to pick one of them, and you know you’re going to be held accountable if you don’t pick the right one.”
Irsay also has a warning for anyone trying to find clues from the Colts in what their cards will look like in the next month and a half.
“We’ll put out some smoke signals,” the Owner says, “intended to be misread and we’ll quietly make the pick and we’ll see what happens.”
And so will everyone else associated with Colts Nation, with the attention only building.