Jim Irsay didn't mince his words Wednessday when he characterized the end of the Colts' season. Irsay, whose family has owned the team since 1972, before the team was even in Indianapolis, tweeted out a statement Wednesday expressing his disappointment with the team's performance this season.
In the statement, Irsay said the team "ended our season in perhaps the worst possible way we could have," referring to the team's season-ending 26-11 loss to Jacksonville, a game where they were heavily favored against a team that, despite winning, still holds the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Colts' struggles in Jacksonville against the Jaguars are nothing new. In fact, the Colts haven't won in Duval County since Dec. 13, 2015 and are 0-7 in that span. For context, they have a winning record against every other team in the same time period.
Back to back losses to finish the regular season and failing to reach the postseason prompted Irsay to meet with head coach Frank Reich and GM Chris Ballard on Monday. It appears they are on the same page heading into the offseason.
But despite the lengthy message detailing the Colts' downfall, how much did Irsay really say?
First, he softened the blow of failing to make the postseason by reminding people the team climbed out of an 0-3 hole to start the season. That supposedly deserves a pat on the back.
Then, he vowed to "do whatever it takes to put us in a position to win next year and for years to come."
Will Irsay be able to deliver on that promise? The Colts will have roughly $46M in cap flexibility, but have 28 players, many of whom were key contributors on this year's squad, with expiring contracts. So, they don't have as much wiggle room as one might think.
Carson Wentz eats up $28M of cap sace next season; however, head coch Frank Reich was hesistant to commit to the QB moving forward.
“We’ve got to be better in the passing game,” Reich said. “It was definitely below our standards, and there’s multiple reasons for that. We have to take ownership of that as coaches and players.”
Reich knows Wentz well from when the two were in Philadelphia together when Wentz was the quarterback and Reich was the offensive coordinator. Wentz posted fine numbers on the surface, completing 62.4 percent of his passes for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
But, he only averaged 209 yards per game and the team ranked 19th in yards per attempt and 26th in total yards, despite having the league's leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor.
To rub salt in the wound, Indy also sent their first-round pick to Philadelphia to acquire Wentz, which was a conditional second round pick. But since Wentz played 75% of the team's snaps this season, it became a first rounder. That means the Colts first pick doesn't come until the second round, 47th overall.
Irsay and the Colts brass have proven to be resiliant, though, and the Colts owner has taken a short time to reflect and is ready to act.
“It’s clear that we did not have the right stuff,’’ Irsay said. “We were not able to perform at the level we were certainly capable of performing to."