After taking in NFL Championship Sunday, one thing was clear: The Colts have a lot of work to do.
That isn’t exactly breaking any news for anyone that witnessed the 2022 season but it does shine a really bright light on just how many holes this Colts organization has and why it is unlikely that in one year we’re seeing the Colts battle for a spot in the Super Bowl.
It isn’t just the quarterback issue, that’s obvious. Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, even Brock Purdy are miles above what the Colts have trotted out under center. Quarterback is the most important position in sports and one the Colts desperately need to address this off-season but the issues go so much deeper than just quarterback and so much larger than just the 53-man roster. In all four organizations that played on Sunday, from the top down, they run a tight ship.
From ownership to GM to head coach to coaching staff to roster, there is one thing crystal clear: they are all far and away better than the Colts in every aspect. The owners stay out of the spotlight, the GMs surround their team with talent and make bold trades to help their young QBs, the head coaches are innovative and able to get the most out of their rosters, the coaching staffs develop players and make sure they all know their assignments come game day and the rosters have dynamic players at key positions that step up when the lights shine their brightest.
It’s not impossible for the Colts to turn it around quickly. Look inside the AFC South at the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were a complete embarrassment with Urban Meyer in 2021 with a 3-14 record and this year spent a ton in the off-season to put around their young quarterback, they hired an offensive minded head coach in Doug Pederson and they were able to win the AFC South. They stunned the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round and while they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round their clearly pointing in the right direction.
The Colts have a laundry list of things to address. Likely way too much for one off-season. But it all starts by identifying the right players at the right positions. They need a quarterback, that’s obvious. They also need playmakers at wide receiver and tight end. They need to figure out if the horrendous play of the offensive line was a one off or something greater. They need to not be afraid to admit they made mistakes and then address those mistakes in free agency and the draft even if that means overpaying on the open market or trading some future draft picks to move up and get a difference-maker.
The worst thing the Colts can do is to continue to have the philosophy that it’s their way or the highway because that has clearly not worked and the talent gap on the roster versus others in the AFC alone is wide. If they want to contend with the Chiefs, Bengals, Bills, Eagles, 49ers, the elites of the league, then they need to adjust their entire way they conduct business.
We’ll see how serious they are with their first big off-season decision: head coach. Who can lead this team and build a staff with some innovative ideas and get the most out of the roster and develop a rookie quarterback? Is it Jeff Saturday? Is it DeMeco Ryans? Eric Bieniemy? Shane Steichen? None of the above? We’ll see what decision Chris Ballard and Jim Irsay come to because at the end of the day the decision will fall on both of them. That’s the first of many important decisions this off-season for the Colts. Let’s hope they get it right and start paving the new road in the right direction.
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