INDIANAPOLIS – If you listen to Jim Irsay, what the Colts accomplished this offseason is something that could very well lead the franchise to celebrating another Super Bowl one day.
Before we get to the quarterback move the Colts made this offseason, let’s focus on what Irsay believes the selections of Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo means.
“I never have, in my 50 years, sat there in a 24-hour period and gotten edge rushers like this back-to-back,” Irsay says. “It’s remarkable.
“These guys are terrors. These guys are men. They are run-and-hit guys with relentless motors. You want those guys that just play so, so hard, and obviously with Robert Mathis and (Dwight) Freeney we had that here. These guys are even bigger guys. It really changes the dynamic of things…It gives (defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus) so many more options.
“There’s no question when we took both of them we know what kind of statement we’re saying. ‘When you play the Colts, you better be ready. When we’re on defense, we are coming after you. The quarterback has to know it’s not a touch football game.’”
Searching for life after Freeney and Mathis has not been an easy process for the Colts.
Chris Ballard entered the 2021 Draft wanting to put some serious investment in the defensive line.
And Irsay believes Ballard did more than just that, especially when you factor in the trade for Carson Wentz, too.
“For Chris Ballard to do what he did, I think it’s really going to be a stroke of genius that plays out,” Irsay says of the Colts offseason in 2021.
“Again, it comes after putting pressure on the quarterback. You saw what happened in our Tennessee game in Tennessee. You saw what happened when we have a relentless pass rush. We saw the Super Bowl with Kansas City. These guys are so good you can’t let them sit back there and throw the football. And with the rules now with corners not being able to jam guys, it’s almost impossible for even outstanding corners like Kenny Moore to cover guys for a long period of time. You have to bring pressure. You have to remember, we have other things in the works here, including (Kemoko) Turay, including blitzing Darius (Leonard), or Kenny, including DeForest (Buckner) but adding these edge rushers, these type of guys, and these guys are heavyweights.”
Irsay’s optimism is something you hear in virtually every one of his press conferences.
But even his tone after this year’s draft was at another level, not hiding his sheer giddiness for what the Colts could look like down the road.
“We’re a completely different football team with these two edge rushers and Carson Wentz at quarterback,” the Owner added. “That changes everything. And it has to be proven. We have to go out and play, but we think it’s going to bring something very special here. You can only blitz so much. You can blitz sometimes, but you have to be able to beat guys in man-to-man situations at the line of scrimmage, and that’s what these two guys can do.”
“It’s very hard to do when you’re not picking in the top 20 picks of the draft,” Irsay continued. “I believe that this may have put us in the Super Bowl, this draft, as this class matures with the group we already have and we put some finishing touches (on the roster).”