Colts general manager Chris Ballard said, “Jabaal brings a wealth of experience and veteran leadership to our locker room. His size and speed are the conduit to his pass-rushing ability as he creates matchup difficulties for opponents. Jabaal is equally talented against the run and in pass coverage. His addition provides a good player for our defense, and we’re excited to have him as a member of the Colts.”
Chuck Pagano said, “Jabaal is a tough football player who can help set the edge against the run and get after the quarterback, he will be a good addition, and I look forward to seeing him contribute to our team.”
Regarding Simon, Ballard said, “He’s a physical linebacker who has matured on one of the top defensive units in the league over the past three seasons,” Ballard said in a statement. “John provides a significant upgrade to our defense and we’re excited to welcome him to Indianapolis.”
The Colts roster was in desperate need of defensive upgrades and I like the early moves the Colts GM has made so far, but much more is needed.
Yes, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts is already blessed. As a vested fan of the Colts, I am thankful that Mr. Irsay is willing to do whatever it takes to make his franchise better. I am happy Mr. Irsay spoke with Peyton Manning and John Gruden about the Colts even if we can only speculate on the details of the conversations. I would argue that he had to do his due diligence in regards to talking with them even though nothing came of it.
Some pundits have said the optics of Mr. Irsay’s interest in John Gruden looks bad and undermines Coach Pagano. I couldn’t disagree more. The NFL is a business and the Colts franchise is Jim Irsay’s business. Furthermore, the Colts record of 8-8 for the 2016 season is what undermined Coach Pagano and contributed to the firing of General Manager, Ryan Grigson.
Now the argument can be made that Coach Pagano did the best he could with the players he had on the roster. The defense definitely lacks impact players and looked inept all year. That being said, I thought the defensive schemes were better under the Colts former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky than they were this year under the current defensive coordinator Ted Monachino. Manusky had to deal with the same personnel issues as Monachino and the defense looked better to me. It didn’t look great, but it still looked better. Either way, the fact is the defense needs better impact players on the roster.
Now the Colts have hired Chris Ballard as the new general manager. He is now tasked with finding those impact players on defense either through the draft or free agency. The Colts will either select 14th or 15th overall, depending on a coin flip with the Minnesota Vikings. They will also have somewhere around 55 million dollars to spend in free agency. Did I mention how nice it was to have an owner like Jim Irsay, who is willing to pay money for good players? I just hope the football Gods bless the Colts with those impact defensive players the team so desperately needs. If the defense doesn’t improve, many people will be singing Duke Tumatoe songs, “Lord Help our Colts!”
Here is the press conference introducing Chris Ballard.