INDIANAPOLIS – They could have gone safer in the health department (and cheaper), with the signing of OT-Charles Leno.
They could have gone younger (and cheaper), with the selection of OT-Christian Darrisaw at No. 21 overall.
Instead, the Colts wanted to take a bit of a risk in finding the replacement for Anthony Castonzo.
As Chris Ballard pondered the direction to go at one of the most important positions on his football team, he thought this:
Could we win big with the other tackles?
In the end, Ballard didn’t think so.
So, nearly four months after Castonzo informed the Colts that he was retiring, the move was made to bring in Fisher.
While many immediately pointed to the history of Fisher and Ballard in Kansas City (Ballard was 2nd in line in the Chiefs personnel department during Fisher’s second, third and fourth NFL seasons), it’s the resume of what the left tackle has accomplished lately that really resonated with the Colts.
The Chiefs won the Super Bowl in the 2019 season. What is lost in that statement is the Chiefs were also 4-4 last season in games Fisher didn’t play in. They were a perfect 11-0 when Fisher suited up.
Last season, the Chiefs were 16-1 when Fisher was in the lineup. And, as we all remember, Kansas City was blown out in the Super Bowl when Fisher was sidelined due to a torn Achilles.
Yes, the Chiefs are a team that has many other pieces than just Fisher, but it’s clear he was a major part of their recent run.
The Colts took note of that.
“I was really happy getting Fish,” Quenton Nelson, who was a Pro Bowl teammate of Fisher’s in 2019, says. “He is a great guy just meeting him a couple times before this, and then meeting him (during OTAs). He’s smart, he’s a good player. He has been in a good system with the Chiefs. I’m really excited already from the talks with him to get to work with him and build that chemistry up.
“Losing Anthony was tough, but we are adding a heck of a player in Fisher and all four of us (returning starters on the O-line) were really excited about it when we saw the signing.”
Throughout the offseason, even Nelson was part of the question on how the Colts would answer the void of Castonzo.
The Colts never loved that idea though.
Patience was preached and the Colts certainly took their time, wanting their medical team to see how the recovery of Fisher was headed, with an important 3-month benchmark in his Achilles rehab reached.
Was signing Leno a step back from Castonzo?
Did Darrisaw have that peak-level football character the Colts want in their first-round picks?
Once Fisher was released by the Chiefs on March 11th, Ballard had an idea of the likely direction he would go at left tackle, with that final medical clearance coming by Colts doctors in early May.
“I just give Chris a lot of credit,” Frank Reich says. “In typical Ballard fashion, (he) was very patient. He looked at all the options, had multiple plans—plan A), plan B), backup plans—and it ended up playing out I really think the way Chris originally envisioned it working out. The patience was a good thing.”