The NFL Combine is underway at Lucas Oil, the primary focus will be on the “Underwear Olympians,” but coaches and generals managers will have their time in the spotlight. There are a lot of unknowns in Indy right now, so every time Frank Reich and Chris Ballard take the microphone, all eyes are on them.
Here are eight of the most noteworthy comments from the Colts’ dynamic duo:
1. Andrew Luck is not throwing but is on time
Until the Colts franchise quarterback takes the field in week one, the questions about his status will not stop, but both Reich and Ballard brought good news about Luck. They said Luck is still working on his throwing motion with weighted balls but is on track to be with the team when workouts start April 2nd. This is an encouraging sign for Colts fans as it’s another step closer to Luck’s return.
2. Frank Gore will leave in free agency
Chris Ballard is trying to make the roster younger, it’s no secret, and the 35-year-old Gore doesn’t fit in those plans. Ballard profusely complimented the running back:
“Well, he knows — Frank knows the way I feel about him. He knows the way the Colts feel about him. I could go on for days about Frank. But it was good. Frank understands. I mean, he gets football. Frank, he calls himself a football player, and he is. He gets it from every aspect, from not only a player but from a business standpoint, and so it was a good conversation.”
It is sad to see a great man like Frank Gore leave the locker room, but with the free agent class and draft class at running back, the Colts can add a younger partner to Marlon Mack in the backfield.
3. All options open at number three
When asked about what the Colts plans are for the number three pick, Ballard gave his best misdirections, anything and everything is possible, but a few things stuck out. First, the Colts will not just take a pass rusher to take a pass rusher, even though it is a significant need for the Colts. Also, he talked about how great Saquon Barkley is a prospect, Ballard chuckled “Good player. We are all watching the same TV. The guy is a good player.” Lastly, he said on FS1 The Herd, that the Colts are looking for the biggest difference maker in the draft. This quote may seem obvious, but it does lend itself to some deeper meaning. The Colts aren’t going to take necessarily the most talented player, but the one that will positively impact the team the most.
4. Rashaan Melvin will test free agency but the Colts want him back
The best Colts corner last year, Rashaan Melvin, is a free agent this year, and both sides are open to a reunion. Ballard said they have talked with Melvin and will let him see what he can get in free agency and the Colts will go from there. This has been consistent stance throughout Ballard’s short tenure in Indy, as shown in the negotiations with Darius Butler, Robert Turbin, and Jack Doyle. Doyle did sign before free agency started, so don’t be surprised if Melvin does the same.
5. Big Game Hunting at Wide Receiver
With Chester Rogers and T.Y. Hilton as the only WRs on the Colts depth chart, a few additions to the position is an absolute certainty. Ballard stated the Colts are going to be aggressive in adding multiple players at the position, and when asked what a Frank Reich receiver should be able to do, the GM jokingly said: “get open.” There are a multitude of options in free agency and in the draft at the position, expect the Colts to make at least three additions before training camp starts in July.
6. Bell Cow or No Bell Cow
When Frank Reich was asked about the possibility of running back by committee approach coming to Indy, the head coach stated he would be okay with either situation, but a true three-down back would help the team in no huddle, up tempo situations.
7. Versatility in the coaching staff
If you paid close attention to the Colts coaching hire announcements this week, you may have noticed the Colts only hired an assistant quarterbacks coach. When asked about that opening, Reich answered that offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and himself will act as the quarterback’s coach for at least the first year. This will help ease the implementation of the new system and will allow the two coaches have the most amount of contact with the two Colts quarterbacks.
8. Both Ballard and Reich ensure protection will improve in Indy
Either by new players or scheme both the GM and head coach swore an improved protection for the Colts quarterbacks. The Colts have had a notoriously awful pass protection for years now, costing their star quarterbacks almost two full seasons. This should be music for the fans ears, expect Ballard and company to add multiple players to the Colts offensive line in free agency in the draft.
Follow me @getinhottonhere
Follow us @FPC_Colts