The Indianapolis Colts took a baby step forward in 2020, making the playoffs and nearly knocking off the Buffalo Bills. Owner Jim Irsay sees giant steps coming soon.
With GM Chris Ballard, coach Frank Reich and the bulk of the key playmakers returning, along with Carson Wentz's addition, Irsay has big expectations for the coming seasons.
"I really believe that you will see a golden era develop as we go into this decade sitting here in 2021," Irsay said Thursday, via the team's official website. "I believe it with all my heart and soul. There's good reason to believe it. You talk to people around the league and people that know, they're going to agree with what I'm saying when they look at Chris Ballard and Frank Reich and the expectations going into this decade that we have for both of them leading the team."
Ballard and Reich are essential pieces of the puzzle, the key player to making Irsay's golden vision become a reality is Wentz, who was officially traded from the Eagles to Indy this week. After Andrew Luck retired, Jacoby Brissett took the reins for a season. Indy decided it needed to upgrade the position, signing Philip Rivers. After the veteran's retirement, the Colts imported Wentz, who struggled mightily in Philly last season.
Irsay sees Wentz turning around his career in Indy.
"But I really feel that with Carson coming in, he's a veteran but he's a young veteran," Irsay said. "I tell you, the excitement in the building and talking to Frank Reich, I wish you guys could hear his voice and the things we've talked about to they point because I really don't see a lot of weaknesses in Carson's game, in his leadership and everything he brings to the table. I think they're all strengths, all a main reason he was the second pick in the draft, a main reason that he was really close to having that incredible year of being that MVP and Super Bowl champion. The injury came in, those things happened but he's healthy and he's very excited to be here, and we're excited to have him."
An eternal optimist, Irsay believes his coaching staff is the one to turn around the former first-round pick.
"I really do feel -- I can't emphasize how strongly I feel -- that Carson is the man for the job for the Colts at this time," Irsay said. "And believe me, there's been a lot, as you guys know with the quarterback situation that has happened over the last three years. And to get someone that I really do believe, and I do believe this, after looking at this game for 50 years and seeing guys come and go at that key position, I really think that he can be that guy that's the centerpiece and the guy that's going to be around with these teams that we put together for the next decade that give the Colts a chance for greatness. I really feel that."
If Wentz can get back on track, the Colts have the talent to take the next step and make a deeper postseason run.