INDIANAPOLIS – On his mind is one area he’s totally rebuilt and a position Colts fans haven’t worried about in years.
When Chris Ballard is asked about a position and/or position battles that are intriguing to him, as the Colts enter training camp, he begins with what some believe is the biggest strength on the roster.
“I think the linebacker position is one where we have a lot of talent,” Ballard began.
Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke make up a trio that Ballard puts right up there with anyone else in the league.
“I think we can compare them to anybody in the league and they are all young, athletic and fast—everything we want.”
Even though most teams tend to have just two linebackers on the field for the majority of the game, Ballard points out that the depth at linebacker is a strength, as well.
“Behind them, it’s not like it’s chopped liver either,” Ballard says. “We think (E.J. Speed) has a lot of upside. You have Matt Adams and Zaire (Franklin), who are both mainstays and both have played for us and been great on (special) teams. And you have (Michigan rookie Jordan Glasgow), who we think is a really good fit.
“That’s going to be fun to watch.”
In front of the linebackers, Ballard has a defensive line group where he’s invested a ton of draft capital and money.
“I’m driven by it,” Ballard says of the defensive line. “You know we have to be great there.
“I’m looking at the addition of Buckner, how that’s really going to impact everybody else. I think it’s really going to have a big impact. I think he’s a pretty special player and a pretty special person. And he’s going to a great addition.”
Lastly, the Colts have a full-fledged kicking competition on its hands this season.
Ballard brought up the head-to-head kicking battle between Chase McLaughlin and Rodrigo Blankenship, without mentioning Adam Vinatieri, who has been a free agent since mid-March.
“Of course, the kicking battle,” Ballard mentioned last.
“We are going to have to find ways to make sure that we create enough competition in pressure situations for both McLaughlin and Blankenship. And Frank and staff have a plan for it. But that’s going to be an interesting one to watch.”
Well, if these competitions are on the mind of the GM, we will definitely be watching them extra closely this camp.