Chris Ballard: Colts will have a “wide-open search”

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Colts owner Jim Irsay and G.M. Chris Ballard conducted an end-of-season press conference on Monday. The contrast between the two men when talking about the team and the future is striking, which is both good news and bad news for the Colts.

Irsay is, well, Irsay. He speaks and speaks and speaks some more, but he ultimately says nothing. And his words have even less credibility now, nearly one year after he downplayed quarterback Andrew Luck‘s shoulder surgery and insisted that he’d be ready for the start of the season.

Ballard, in contrast, gets it. He explained the importance of finding the right fit as the next coach. He said the team will conduct a “wide-open search.” He mentioned that coaches like Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy got their jobs after serving as coordinators of non-playoff teams, which suggests Ballard won’t be chasing the hot names from the teams that will play in January.

He also explained that, while scouting players, a good G.M. also scouts coaches. Ballard has a list of candidates; he pointed out that every G.M. has to always have that list, given the possibility that a team will win the Super Bowl and the coach will abruptly retire.

Wanting the right guy and finding the right guy are two different things, but Ballard seems to understand the challenge, and he seems to be sufficiently thoughtful to know who he wants, and to know how to get it.

Obviously, he didn’t want Chuck Pagano. Ballard probably never wanted him from the start. Now, the Colts will end up possibly with the guy Ballard would have hired if he’d gotten the green light to do so a year ago.

However it plays out, Ballard now gets his chance to move forward with hiring his own head coach. After that, Ballard’s most challenging job may be getting through his various conversations with Irsay without finding the nearest window and jumping out of it.

7 responses to “Chris Ballard: Colts will have a “wide-open search”

  1. to me, having 20 possible coaching candidates is a sign of front office dysfunction.

    you’ll end up losing your front-runner and have to take your 5th or 6th choice.

  2. Ballard sounds smart already. Most teams are looking at the flavor of the month candidates. Those are generally guys from winning teams. Teams would have been looking to hire Green Bay assistants, and then Aaron Rodgers got hurt, and those guys started coaching poorly. Lol. Nobody would have looked at San Francisco when they were 1-10, but then Garoppolo came in and they went 5-0. Their assistant coaches suddenly become geniuses. Lol. Sean McVay came to the Rams from Washington. The Redskins haven’t won anything. Mike Zimmer comes to Minnesota from hapless Cincinnati, yet both McVay and Zimmer are now coach of the year candidates. It amazes me why so many teams look at New England still, even though the guys that leave there never win anywhere else. It’s not that those ex-Patriots coaches aren’t good coaches. It’s just that they don’t get to bring Tom Brady with them. It’s easy to win with a great QB. Ask Chuck Pagano. Ballard understands football. When he’s watching tape, the good coaches stand out, and they’re not always from winning teams. The future already looks bright in Indy.

  3. Depending upon Andrew Luck’s health, this should be a job that top-tier candidates will probably want. Having a good QB already in place goes a long way in engineering a turnaround.

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