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The Colts just proved that patience pays in this year’s NFL
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The Colts just proved that patience pays in this year’s NFL
free agency period by signing former Kansas City linebacker Justin Houston. The move also proved to Colts fans that Chris Ballard knows..." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteStampede Bluean Indianapolis Colts communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsColtsShopAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Colts StoriesScheduleRosterStatsYahoo Colts NewsYahoo Colts Team PageYahoo Colts ReportYahoo Colts Depth ChartYahoo Colts TransactionsYahoo Colts PhotosShop About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕Filed under:Free AgencyColts Free AgencyTrusting Chris Ballard has دیدن لینک ها برای شما امکان پذیر نیست. لطفا ثبت نام کنید یا وارد حساب خود شوید تا بتوانید لینک ها را ببینید.
, and will, pay off New,84commentsEDTShareTweetShareShareTrusting Chris Ballard has, and will, pay off Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty ImagesThe Colts just proved that patience pays in this year’s NFL free agency period by signing former Kansas City linebacker Justin Houston. The move also proved to Colts fans that Chris Ballard knows what he’s doing.According to spotrac.com, the Colts had the most cap space in the NFL, sitting on some $77 million before the Houston signing. Aside from the addition of WR Devin Funchess out of Carolina, and Houston, the Colts have mostly stuck to in-house signings, including kicker Adam Vinatieri, right guard Mark Glowinski, defensive end Margus Hunt and cornerback Pierre Desir.Prior to today’s acquisition, there was significant criticism directed at Colts GM Chris Ballard; some Colts fans wondered why the team hadn’t made a lot of huge moves in free agency. Ballard is okay with this criticism, he knows the ropes.Now, more than ever, Colts nation needs to trust the process and trust Ballard’s wisdom when it comes to signing and drafting players. He proved his ability to put together an excellent group of players last season, drafting a handful of playmakers like guard Quenton Nelson, linebacker Darius Leonard and right tackle Braden Smith. The 2018 Colts draft class was one of the best in years.“We have very strict criteria of what we want to bring in دیدن لینک ها برای شما امکان پذیر نیست. لطفا ثبت نام کنید یا وارد حساب خود شوید تا بتوانید لینک ها را ببینید.
,” Ballard said in a press conference in February. “They want to add talent with what we stand for.” The 2018 Colts team had a certain camaraderie that was very evident in the locker room. This is all thanks to the franchise Ballard has put together. The Colts thrived in 2018 under head coach Frank Reich, beginning the season at 1-5 and going on to win 10 of their last 11 games for a playoff spot and a clinching of the AFC South. This team, however, relied a lot on the rookie class that Ballard put together in the 2018 NFL Draft. These young players are just a testament to the intelligence of Ballard’s football mind. He isn’t going to bring in players that will shake up the locker room and stray from the values of the team. He has a strict standard that has really paid off.Ballard has said many times that his goal isn’t to bring in a bunch of big name players, but to improve internally and count on the talent coming out of the draft. The Colts have a few specific needs that can be targeted in the draft rather than spending millions of dollars on a one-year deal with a veteran.Houston appears to be an exception to that rule.The linebacker is a phenomenal addition to the pass rush that the Colts desperately needed. The bottom line is that fans need to let Ballard do his thing. He’s been very deliberate about the Colts’ moves and that won’t be changing. Many players’ contracts will expire after this season, including Eric Ebron, Anthony Castonzo, Jack Doyle, Jabaal Sheard, Adam Vinatieri, Joe Haeg, Kenny Moore and Funchess, to name a few. I can’t see Ballard spending every dime on a player simply because of the name on the their jersey. He wants to improve from within and develop what he already has. Sensibility will pay off in the end, and Ballard is already proving that. The Indianapolis Colts figured Darius Leonard would emerge as a defensive playmaker one day.He skipped the learning curve.Two weeks into his rookie season, the weakside linebacker leads the NFL with 27 tackles, already has forced one fumble, recovered another, had a sack and provided a new دیدن لینک ها برای شما امکان پذیر نیست. لطفا ثبت نام کنید یا وارد حساب خود شوید تا بتوانید لینک ها را ببینید.
, dynamic dimension in the Colts’ rebuilt defense.“When we came here, there were only one or two guys (at linebacker),” defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said Tuesday.“He was kind of thrust into that position and we treated him as such. He’s grabbed that role, taken it and he’s done a good job with it.”Just how impressive has the 6-foot-2, 234-pound, 23-year-old been?Leonard’s 18-tackle performance Sunday at Washington was the fifth-best grade by a linebacker since Eberflus implemented his points system in 1995.Some view Leonard’s immediate impact as a surprise, but he was pretty impressive in college.Leonard set the career record for tackles (394) at South Carolina State, a Football Championship Subdivision school largely overshadowed by the state’s more prominent programs at Clemson and South Carolina as well as Furman, the 1988 FCS national champions.Twice he was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference defensive player of the year and Leonard got his nickname “Maniac” following a 19-tackle performance against Clemson in 2016. The knock on him going into the draft was he needed more size and strength to hold up in the NFL and time to make the transition from small-school star to NFL contributor.Colts general manager Chris Ballard saw it differently after watching Leonard for one week in Mobile, Alabama, in January.“You always want to watch the small school guys when you go to the Senior Bowl because now they’re facing the bigger competition,” Ballard said after making Leonard the first of Indy’s four second-round draft picks in April.“I thought he stood out. His speed, his athleticism, his ability to cover. When the four ‘backers went, we thought Darius was the fifth-best backer in the draft.”Leonard certainly has played like it.Despite missing all but one day of offseason workouts, Leonard returned to the field when the Colts’ rookies reported in late July and made a quick impression on the veterans.“I think it was pretty much the first time you saw it, the first practice of training camp when he caught the interception off of Andrew Luck,” second-year linebacker Anthony Walker said.“First of all دیدن لینک ها برای شما امکان پذیر نیست. لطفا ثبت نام کنید یا وارد حساب خود شوید تا بتوانید لینک ها را ببینید.
, that’s a big-time quarterback there and that was a big-time play. We knew right there 鈥?that’s why we drafted him.”Leonard continued playing well during the preseason and his ability to stay healthy allowed him not only to win a starting job, but also the right to call the defensive signals in the huddle.So far, he’s flashed the speed to make plays from sideline to sideline and deliver game-changing ones, too.But Leonard’s best attribute might be his attitude.He’s eager to clean up mistakes, remains humble and enjoys breaking down game tapes.That’s hardly a surprise from someone who helped decipher prep games so he could help coach players at his high school while he was in college.“I just work hard and just take coaching,” he said. “That’s the big thing, I take all the coaching I can get, follow all the details and do all the little things.”It’s made a huge difference in one of the league’s most inexperienced linebacker groups.Leonard, Walker and free-agent signee linebacker Najee Goode have combined for 12 NFL starts 鈥?exactly half coming during the first two weeks this season.And, so far, Leonard has been the star with back-to-back memorable performances that have surprised the doubters but nobody in the Colts’ locker room.“As a rookie, it’s hard to find someone like that 鈥?someone who prepares the way he prepares. The things that he does really sets him apart,” Walker said.“He’s miles ahead of where I was last year and just the confidence and stuff he plays with, he’s miles ahead of me.”
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