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.