INDIANAPOLIS – If Chris Ballard is a man of his word, expect some roster turnover from the Colts in the coming weeks/months.
Ballard said as much, following the disappointing end to the 2019 season for the Colts.
“You can always learn more through your failures,” Ballard said back in January. “They stink. They’re not fun. But that’s usually when you learn the most about not only yourself, but also the people around you. I think we learned a lot this year. I think we learned a lot about our team, both good and bad. Like I told our team, ‘When times like this happen, change occurs.’ To sit here and act like we are not going to have turnover on the roster, that would have been being dishonest (to the team). That’s not where we are at right now.
“We have to get better. We have to improve and evaluate everything we are doing within our program and we have to find answers. That’s our job.”
The most obvious avenue in trying to ‘get better’ comes in the next few weeks (via free agency) and next month (via the draft).
Last year, Ballard was keen on running things back after the Colts went 10-6 and won a road playoff game.
Returning 20 of 22 starters last season didn’t lead to anywhere near the same success the Colts achieved in 2018.
When Ballard looks back on where things went the other way in 2019, he didn’t like how the Colts deviated from ‘the process’ once they got off to a very solid 5-2 start.
“I remember sitting there at 5-2 thinking, ‘We’ve got a pretty good football team.’ But I also knew we had won some really tight games,” Ballard acknowledges. “Usually that pops back around on you and you don’t always win those out. Point differential is big. I always look at it. I think we were plus 8 or 9 at one point, always hovering right in that middle area. We were winning tight games and then in the second half of the season, we weren’t winning those tight games, whether it was a failure offensively, or a failure in the kicking game, or a failure defensively. In each of those tough losses, something would go wrong that we would not make a play.
“I think you could hear a little chatter at 5-2, we’ve beaten a very good Kansas City team, a playoff team in Tennessee on the road, we beat Houston, who is a really good football team, so we’ve beaten three of the top teams in the AFC and if you don’t continue to grind and take care of the little things each and every week, it’ll bite you. I don’t want to be a momentum team, a momentum organization. You start over every week. You are 0-0 every week, even after the season. We are starting over and evaluating everything. I think we just got caught up in the momentum of being 5-2.
“We are a process and people driven organization. That’s how we are. I thought sometimes we got focused too much on the outcome. That’s my fault. At the end of the day, you are 5-2 and you start looking at, ‘Wow, we are going to make the playoffs. No, it’s got to be about the next game.”
So, change is coming.
“(2019) is a season that will be remembered for being a 7-9 season and that’s a stain that doesn’t easily wash away,” Ballard says. “We are disappointed organizationally of where we are at and all of that, all of that, starts with me. When we don’t succeed and we don’t meet expectations, that directly falls on my shoulders. I’m not going to make excuses. I’m not going to blame.
“It’s our job to fix it, my job to make sure that we are holding the right people accountable, including myself in areas I’ve fallen short and that we get this thing moving again in the right direction.”
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