INDIANAPOLIS – With his fingers pursing together as he reached towards the camera, Jim Irsay was using a visual to describe his very clear words.
Irsay believes the Colts are close, really close, to being at the top of the mountain.
On several occasions throughout his Colts state of the union, Irsay stated that his franchise is a Super Bowl contender right now.
“We are showing right there that we are Super Bowl contenders with that top group of teams,” Irsay said on Wednesday. “We are right in that mix and we are this close (bringing his fingers together) from getting it done.”
While Irsay was adamant about the Colts being right there with the league’s elite, he also acknowledged the several needs at very important spots.
Of course, no more so than at the quarterback position.
As Irsay explained the solid foundation the Colts currently have, he views the chance to win now as something that must be pursued.
“We have a tremendous nucleus of players that are capable of competing for the Super Bowl very soon, Irsay said. “So ideally, if you can get someone to come in this year and several years after who is ready to go, it gives you your best opportunity and you don’t have as much of a maturation aspect of seeing them develop and get to that level that they need to get so you can get to a Super Bowl and win it.
“That being said, we’ll just have to see where opportunity pushes us because we really would love to be able to get a great young quarterback. Obviously, there are some out there that have been talked about coming out in this draft and we really just have to really evaluate and see where we are with them.”
The common theme of Irsay desiring more of an established QB for this 2021 campaign was clear throughout his nearly hour-long chat.
“It would really benefit us the most if we could get someone to come in that can play at a high level, that has veteran vision, veteran understandings of picking up things quickly so we can get into 2021 and really have a chance to kind of if you will take off where we left off, just tweaking some things so we are an even better football team,” the Owner said. ”I really believe we can do that. I don’t know what path is going to be the best path. There are just so many multiple scenarios that you can put together but there is no question that if there is an individual or individuals out there that can come in that have experience – I think that’s what helped so much this year with Philip Rivers is, boy you have this guy coming in and he has no learning curve. He is like a coach on the field. It was just really positive for the type of team we had because we had a lot of excellent pieces in place and he helped get us there quicker. That would be ideal.”
Irsay’s current focus seems to be on the Colts pursuing that type of guy.
Listening to Irsay describe such a player, one couldn’t help but think of Matthew Stafford and a potential trade there. Outside of Stafford, seeing an obvious/realistic choice achieving Irsay’s goal isn’t as clear.
But the Owner has also had a very specific, and lofty, goal for his franchise winning multiple Super Bowls within a decade.
Would the best path in trying to achieve that be thinking more long-term at QB?
“I’m not just going to go all in for today and just say forget the future, let’s just try to go all in now and forget about this consistency of greatness and winning more than one Super Bowl because that’s really what you want to do,” Irsay said. “I know when I look at Chris Ballard, Frank Reich and what we are trying to accomplish, we want to be that team that win two at least (in a decade).
“I’m excited because I know there are a lot of ways you can get this thing done to win it all. If we can find a great young guy, that is always going to be our focus in the draft – get the guy that you can build around for the next 15 years so to speak. That’s ideal, but if not there are a lot of ways to get it done.”
Irsay added that nothing can be forced in the draft, especially when you are drafting as late as the Colts are (No. 21 overall).
How close are the Colts though?
Are they the team we saw outplay the Bills, an AFC finalist this season, for much of that Wild Card matchup?
Or are they a little further away than what Irsay states, having benefited from the easiest schedule in the NFL this past season and the extra playoff spot, while having so many key needs unanswered?
The Owner is adamant it’s the former, with the most important piece of the operation needing to be found.
“That special guy under center can change your trajectory like no one else,” he said.
Irsay would certainly know that.