We're not that far off.
Undoubtedly. This reason alone makes it near impossible to compare IND to SF.
The Texans and Titans both had wins in the playoffs. The Titans made it to the AFC Championship game. With Luck, we owned the Titans. With Jacoby, we split 1-1 regular season with the Titans. If the Titans made that kinda run, I have to believe we would've had a nice shot at the AFC Championship game (or SB) with a healthy Luck (and fully healthy roster).
Still not saying Jacoby is our long-term solution... but TEN got there with a good running game and solid D. If we improve our DL and add another piece to our secondary (or maybe Rock, Tell and others improve with a better DL), we do have a top 5 running team. Something will eventually need to be done to upgrade Jacoby (or he'll have to improve), but there's no reason (IMO) that we can't win the AFC South and advance in the playoffs with a few improvements outside of QB next year. Tannehill isn't exactly a name many NFL fans associate with 'franchise QB', the Titans got to the AFC Championship by running the ball, taking care of the ball and playing solid D.
For real, if Vinny didn't cost us 2-3 games (maybe more like 4-5 games) and McClaughin 1 game (missed a game tying FG), we would've had a nice shot at winning AFC South this past year. Not like Tannehill is an all-pro QB, the Titans moved on by running the ball and being solid on D. I think we need to add a few pieces on D, but we can certainly run the ball and I think on any given Sunday we can play with most teams in the league. If the Titans made that run, no reason we couldn't have.
We had a top 5 NFL QB in Luck, so there was no need to address that issue in draft or FA prior to this past season (and Luck only gave a couple weeks notice, so it's not like it was an issue prior to last draft or FA period). We have a pro-bowl WR in TY, and we brought in a WR through draft and FA last year (unfortunately, they both got hurt and TY missed over 1/3 of the season, a stretch where we went 1-5), so Ballard didn't ignore that position, he just got unfortunate. We had a pro-bowl TE (Doyle) and Ballard brought in Ebron who had 1 pro-bowl year for us.
Hooker had 3 INTs in <7 full games as a rookie. In year 2, he was barely targeted. Last year, he was rarely targeted. I still think Hooker has plenty of talent and is a good player. We had no pass rush last year and were young (and sometimes hurt) in the secondary. I have no reason to believe Hooker won't be a solid player for us with an improved pass rush and some more help in the backfield.
Nelson is a two-time all-pro in two years. That's almost unheard of. He's widely considered as the best OL in the NFL (if not THE best, one of the best). Our run game was a joke before he got here. We're now a top 5 running team (and last year we were able to be top 5 without a balanced attack, in part due to injuries at WR/TE and in part due to inconsistent play by Jacoby). Q has improved the OL with his play and has changed the demeanor of the whole OL with his attitude. Hard to argue with that pick. Let's not forget Ballard also got Leonard in that draft who has been a 2x pro-bowler, 1x first team all-pro, 1x 2nd team all-pro.
Ballard did not draft a C (Kelly came in under Grigson), so not sure why the 'C' keeps coming up in your posts.
Ballard acquired a team that was very lackluster outside of Luck at QB, AC at LT, Kelly at C, TY at WR, Viniatieri at K, and maybe a couple other spots. He went ahead and added very good football players in areas where we needed them.
I see nothing wrong with Ballard's approach so far, considering the team he inherited. He's made us a better team, despite a lot of adversity and bad luck.
First off, our goals were to protect Luck and to establish a running game. We were 5th in the league in rushing last year after being a joke as a running team for about a decade prior to that (really since Edge left). Ballard made it clear from day 1 that this team would be able to run the ball... we can do that now.
Second off, we already had a LT (AC) prior to Ballard. No reason he should've invested in another one to date (he will have to if AC retires). He drafted Campbell and signed Funchess last year (they both got hurt -- would they have been as good as Deebo, who knows, but it's not like it went ignored). We have Marlon Mack who, if healthy, should be a 1,200-1,500 yard runner in 16 games. There is only one Derrick Henry in the league (IMO, nobody else is close to him as far as being that big, strong and fast -- some other RBs like Saquaon may be as good of RBs, but none are quite like DH), so that's a silly statement to make -- we've got a guy who can rush for >1,200 yards and we were top 5 in the league in rushing.
Ballard drafted Turay who by all means was set to have around double digit sacks last year, and he signed Houston who had double digit sacks. We need to stay healthy on the DL and we need some interior pressure. Our DL has been solid against the run. Balalrd's only a piece or two away from that being a very good unit.
Overall, he's had very good drafts. We have some young guys on this team that have shown a lot of promise and should improve over the next few years. I'm really not sure what you're complaining about.
He wants 20+ million a year, he's not worth it. He only had about 8 sacks this year and was a major liability in the running game. No way would I touch him for 20 million, no way.. If the OT gets their hands on him it's over, so teams started just running right at him and it worked, he's been very ineffective..
I think we all need to look forward, not about things in the past.
The what ifs and had someone did this does no one any good.
I feel pretty good about the direction the Colts are going with Ballard.
Will it be perfect? I doubt it but as a fan that's all I have to look forward to.
We can all agree or disagree but one thing in common we all share is we are fans of the Colts or we wouldn't be here.