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INDIANAPOLISA month and a half has gone since Chris Ballard last met the media, yet the GM remains non-committal on Carson Wentz as the Colts quarterback in 2022.

That was the main takeaway from Ballard’s media session on Tuesday at the 2022 NFL Combine.

Along with the obvious at quarterback, there were plenty of other interesting topics that Ballard discussed on Tuesday.

Here are some of the highlights from the 6th year GM:

  • On Carson Wentz and the quarterback situation for the Colts in 2022: “I don’t know. We are still working through it. I know I’m going to get a lot of questions on Carson right now. I don’t have a direct answer for you. We are working through it, Jim (Irsay), Frank (Reich) and I will sit down over the next 10 days and figure out where it’s going. Ultimately, we will do what’s best for the Colts in the short term and the long term.”

 

  • On if the available QBs in free agency and the draft will impact the Wentz decision: “I don’t know if it will. Ultimately, you have to have a guy you believe in and you can win with. That will play some into it. But ultimately we will make the decision that we think is the best in the short and long term.”

 

  • On of Ballard, Irsay and Reich agree on Wentz: “It’s a good discussion. I don’t know if there’s disagreement right now, but it’s something we will sit down and discuss.”

 

  • On if the 1st and 3rd round pick the Colts gave up for Wentz being a factor in the decision: “Don’t let it be (a factor). When we made the decision at the time, you always make what you think is best with the information that you have. I don’t ever worry about what we gave up. We make the best decision going forward and whatever the repercussions of that are, they are, we deal with them and we figure out how to move forward.”

 

  • On if any Colts players would be “untouchable” in a trade for a quarterback: “I don’t ever want to say anybody is ‘untouchable.’ We have players that we think a lot of that we think are big parts of the future. But I don’t think anybody is untouchable. We will do whatever we think is best to win, both in short and the long term.”

 

  • On Wentz hearing all the public debate about his status as the Colts QB in 2022: “I visited with Carson today, in my office, for an hour. It was good. It was really good. I think learning to handle the criticism….I think what you have to ask yourself…and I ask it with the criticism I get, which some of it is deserved, is the criticism fair? Is it fair? I’ll take it in, if it’s fair. If it’s not fair, then what am I doing? I’m not wasting my head space on that. But if the criticism is fair, then we have to be able to look internally and accept that and grow from it. Most of it is pretty fair. It will be interesting to see how (Wentz) grows from this. I think he will.”

 

  • On the thought of when the Colts will find a long-term answer at QB: “It’s a very fair question and one I think about it all the time. It also comes from a measured place of, ‘You’ve got to be right. You have to be right.’ And even if you aren’t right all the time, that’s the one position that you have to keep firing away until you get it right.”

 

  • On not having a 1st round pick adding urgency to free agency this offseason: “No, not really. We will continue to look. We will do the same we’ve done every year. If an opportunity presents itself that we think we are getting a player of value, at the right price, then we’ll do it. Even if you have to overpay a little bit, I’m ok with that. It’s just when you straddle yourself with 3 years of guaranteed money, because that’s where free agency is going for the high-priced guys, and you miss on that, and it leaves you no out, then that strangles you going forward. We are going to have some players here going forward that we will want to keep, so you have to balance that out.”

 

  • On if seeing the playoffs has made him reconsider how Ballard has gone about building: “It’s made me think. You want as many playmakers as we can get. That would be the best way to summarize it. I think we have 3 really good ones. Jonathan Taylor, who I think is elite. (Michael) Pittman, who I think is really good. And Nyheim Hines, who we have to get involved more. And when he’s involved more, we usually do really well offensively. We need to add some more weapons. But at my core, you have to be able to block people. I think one of the number one things for the quarterback to feel comfortable is he’s got to feel protected.”

 

  • On T.Y. Hilton’s potential retirement and free agency: “I had a good talk with T.Y. at the end of the season. As of a couple of weeks ago, yes, he wanted to play again. We will talk again. And T.Y. still can play. I want to make that…unfortunately he got hurt for half the season, but T.Y. can still play. Because he’s as smart as about any player I’ve been around. He just understands how to play the game even if his skillset might not be the same as it was 3 or 4 years ago. His instincts and level of competence in terms of understanding what’s happening, he knows how to play.”

 

  • On the other wideouts: “Zach Pascal was a really good player for us….Didn’t quite have the season that he wanted to have and we wanted him to have. But he’s a great teammate. He played his role and played his role to the best he could this year. With (Dezmon) Patmon and Michael (Strachan), we think they have upside. But they have to prove it like any other unknown player. Until it’s proven, they have to prove it. We do think they have a good skillset to ascend. And I don’t want to forget about Parris Campbell either. Does it mean we are going to sit here and count on him to be our No. 2 or 3 right away? No. We will add competition to the position, but Parris Campbell is still a very talented guy. The injury part has been unfortunate, but the flashes have been really good with Parris. The guy has worked and done everything he could do but has just had some bad luck.”

 

  • On any specific talks with Jack Doyle (signed through 2022) about his potential return/retirement: “Not yet. But had some good talks with him.”

 

  • On the 2022 draft: “I think it has some real depth in it this year. I mean all the way through free agency, the undrafted portion of it. Last year, 1,700 players (were draft eligible). This year, 2,800. So you are talking 1,110 more players in this year’s draft than last year that we are evaluating. That’s going to leave some guys to slip through the cracks.”

 

  • On the offensive line free agents in-house: “I thought (Mark) Glowinski and Chris Reed both had good years for us. I thought the trade for (Matt) Pryor ended up being good for us. And even Eric Fisher. He was coming off the Achilles. I thought he had a 7-game stretch where he played really good. And then he had a pec and a knee (injury) at the end of the year. He tried to fight through it, and it affected him some. We will see who we can get back. (Will) Fries, we like. Danny Pinter, we like a lot. I think Danny Pinter has a really bright future in this league. We have some young guys that we really think can help us. We need to figure out who we can get on the line to go around (Braden Smith, Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly).

 

  • On the Quenton Nelson contract extension: “Yeah, we are going to want Quenton to be here. Whether it gets done now, this year or next year, whenever, we will eventually get it done. He’s that important to us.”

 

  • On the defensive line: “We got work to do. We got work to do. You have to have 8, 9 (guys to rotate) going into it. When we lost Tyquan (Lewis), that was a big loss for us because Tyquan brought extra juice for us, both inside and outside. You have to have 8 or 9 to play in this defense. We have work to do up front.”

 

  • On new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley: “It’s a very similar base system to what we were running with Matt (Eberflus). Same tree, little different flavor. But still the emphasis on effort, speed, fundamentals, taking the ball away. All those things that we have talked about in the past, we will do it with Gus.”