“We are going to be faster!”
“We are going to have positional competition!”
“We are going to be tougher!”
Not exactly riveting stuff, but with a track record of two minor signings, no drafts, and no games, what the hell did you think would be shared at the NFL Scouting Combine by the new braintrust of the Indianapolis Colts?
Maybe it’s unfair to those who have gone before to claim a blank slate when coach Chuck Pagano returns, but the hiring of GM Chris Ballard has provided a breeze that swept out cynicism and infused the air with hope for brighter Sundays and more productive drafts.
That fresh air has deodorized Pagano as well as the rest of the organization, and so we declare a new day!
Ballard spoke yesterday of the need for speed and intense positional competition. Both would be welcome.
Pagano echoed Ballard this morning while trying to play nice with the media. There were attempts at humor, but none felt like anything more than half-hearted attempts to both reboot last year’s barely polite relationship between himself and the local media and remind the media that he remembers all too well who said and wrote what just two months ago when his job was in peril.
Actions will speak louder than words a week from today when the NFL’s free agency period begins. The Colts will have more than $60-million dollars to throw at players who may or may not have already played their best football.
Then the draft will come, and that is where Ballard is going to earn his money as he selects players who will lead the Colts to a championship, mediocrity, or desolation..
It was the woefully pitiful 2013 and 2014 Colts draft classes that ultimately spelled doom for former GM Ryan Grigson, and it will be the next three drafts under Ballard that either “build the monster” or sink the Colts further into entrenched mediocrity.
Fans and media assume long hours are being spent evaluating tapes of current and future Colts. The result of the work and talk will be seen over the next 10 months.
We will see if what’s being said leads to actions that bring wins or losses. It needs to.
Until then – we hold these truths about professional football to be self-evident – Change is good – at least temporarily. Words are cheap – until they are followed by decisive action. And the unassailable NFL equation – speed + toughness + execution = championships.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.