It's official. Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard are on the hot seat.
A disaster in Duval County, the Colts couldn't exorcise their demons Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, losing their eighth consecutive game in this setting.
The Colts didn't just lose, though. They were embarrassed. What they put on the field Sunday was a putrid, uninspired product that displayed a team trending closer to the No. 1 overall pick than a spot in the playoffs.
Reich and Ballard deserve their share of the blame. Almost an equal amount of blame must be placed on the shoulders of the players as well. But Reich and Ballard set this roster on its current path.
Ballard is constantly praised as one of the top general managers in the NFL. And for the most part, I would agree with that sentiment. Ballard's conviction and talent evaluation make him a solid general manager. But his overall team-building philosophy has put the Colts on a path that will likely be the end of his tenure.
When investing so much money and draft capital in the offensive line and having the unit perform the way it has, is a major red flag. Not to mention, the Colts also have invested money and draft capital in the defensive line only to have the unit go missing throughout major stretches of games.
Even though he's obsessed with adding depth, Ballard hasn't done so at some very important positions. The wide receiver room, for example, is filled with inexperience and players who are still developing. That's all fine and well but when the alpha goes down, those players have to step up to a higher level-as Ballard and Reich have said they would.
But when that doesn't happen time and time again, it's time to look in the mirror and truly assess what direction the team is truly going. Because after four full seasons and two lifeless games together, the Colts are trending in a direction that's lower than they've ever been.
The Andrew Luck debacle certainly has to be recognized. But enough time has passed since that fateful night in 2019 for us to see that the decisions they've made since have failed to make the Colts a perennial playoff contender.
One of the biggest issues has been Ballard's reservation about calling his shot on a young quarterback. He's correct when he says that if they miss on that quarterback, their jobs are lost. But the same result will find them if they continue to spin their tires in the mud with quarterbacks that other teams don't want.
Reich pounded the table for both Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz. While Rivers led them to the playoffs in 2020, it still wasn't stable due to his retirement. Then, the entire Wentz saga took place, which led to a disastrous collapse at the end of the 2021 season.
Reich, who is a fantastic leader, person and offensive mind, has been out-coached far too often in his career. And his preference of taking on retread veterans has limited the upside of the team in each season.
But Ballard, also a man of high character and leadership, has had his chances to put a claim in on a young, promising quarterback. Instead of trying to move up for Justin Herbert in 2020, he traded away the No. 13 pick for DeForest Buckner. An All-Pro talent and consummate leader, for sure. But even a player of his caliber doesn't compare to having an elite talent at quarterback.
They've had their chances at players like Josh Allen, Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown only to either pass them by or trade the pick away.
Now winless against two teams they should easily handle, the Colts are lacking at premier positions like left tackle and wide receiver while the defense remains inconsistent-at best-from week to week.
It's unlikely that Jim Irsay will clean house during the season unless things really go off the rails, but if the Colts miss out on the playoffs again, both Ballard and Reich should be out of jobs.
Otherwise, the Colts will just continue to spin their tires in the mud preaching the same coachspeak without making any tangible progress.
Twitter blasts Colts in lifeless loss to Jaguars
Story originally appeared on Colts Wire