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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Bridges: Colts’ reality check is overdue

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It wasn’t hard to hear the boos echoing through Lucas Oil Stadium this past Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts left the field and headed to the sanctity of the locker room.

After all, those who paid their hard-earned money for ducats had just witnessed yet another late-game meltdown and felt the urgent need to, shall we say, express themselves to the entire organization real loudly.

They’ve seen enough bad football this season to last a lifetime, and while it’s easy to be an armchair quarterback, they know a pig in a poke when witnessing one, and they’re beyond tired of it all this year.

Ask a hundred people what needs to be done about their beloved Colts and you’ll probably get just as many answers to that question, but the common theme in my humble opinion would be a complete and total rebuild.

Yes, it’s time to look across town to the Indiana Pacers and emulate the painful process, one that seems impossible to accept yet long overdue.

This team has a ton of fine individuals on the roster off the field and in the front office to boot, but it’s simply not working, so now the eccentric, yet benevolent owner has to wipe the slate clean and bring in both a new administration as well as overall this team.

After investing heavily in an offensive line that is simply average on its best day, and betting that soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterbacks could find the fountain of youth en route to a coveted Super Bowl, it’s simply time to turn the page and bring in fresh troops from the top down next season.

It goes without saying that the defensive side of the equation is totally broken and needs a complete overhaul as well.

Chris Ballard is an outstanding individual and, up to now, has been given the green light with the personnel decisions and the dreaded salary cap.

For reasons that are obvious and then some, it just hasn’t worked out during his tenure.

Same can be said for one Frank Reich, who has never achieved the greatness he experienced as the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. He, too, is responsible along with Ballard for cajoling Jim Irsay into the Carson Wentz experience, and now it’s time for the piper to be paid.

Before you tell this old-school curmudgeon he’s being too hasty with a recommendation of a mass exile on West 56th Street, think about the ineptitude of this roster and who ultimately is responsible.

I never want to see anyone fired, but the recent release of offensive coordinator Marcus Brady was nothing more than a precursor of what’s to come.

While injuries have certainly played a part in their demise, so has poor judgment in terms of free agency acquisitions and the extensions given to the aforementioned offensive line, which has yet to perform in a manner commensurate with their considerable salaries.

Throw in the debacle of musical chairs being played at quarterback with a contingent of individuals who, while fine men off the field, had seen their better days long before they signed those $25 million annual contracts, and it all adds up to the need for the immediate changing of the guard this offseason.

What can they do to at least salvage something positive this season? Stay the course with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback and try to keep him upright. Allow Jonathan Taylor’s ankle to fully heal before playing him would be a great idea, and limiting the number of snaps for Shaquille Leonard until he’s fully healthy makes sense, too.

It’s easy to second guess people who know more about football than I do, but the time to turn the page with the current decision makers is past due and without such, the futility will continue to worsen.

Now it’s time for Irsay to make the tough yet obvious decision and release Ballard, Reich and their respective staffs in one big, yet painful swoop.

They’ll all be fine and will undoubtedly find work elsewhere in football, be it college or professional.
Wish them and their respective families well, but don’t delay the inevitable any longer.

We’re talking about good people, but they’ve failed at their jobs and as brazen as it may sound, they have to go.

Danny Bridges, who respects everything Chris Ballard and Frank Reich have accomplished to date and wishes them well, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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