The Indy Star recently spoke with GM DJSim about the current issues surrounding the Colts rebuild. DJSim was very candid and matter of fact about the state of the team, organization, roster, and the future.
DJSim believes the teardown of the roster is mainly complete. Sure, some players will not be retained and some could be traded, but the roster is in much better shape than a couple years ago. The age of the current roster is much younger while the majority of the vets are under one or two year contracts that are stop gaps if you will.
DJSim stated that when he came to the Colts he inherited an older average roster and do to league rules, he one of two choices: Win now or start an immediate rebuild. With a division struggling the Colts went for wins and came home with two division championships. With those in Sim's back pocket, a massive rebuild was in order. Breaux, Forward, Cash, and other top players were shipped out for future draft picks.
The time to finally recoup talent from those trades is here. The Colts own two of the top eight picks in this years draft. DJSim will either select two top players, or if another GM wants to give him more draft pick capital, he could move one of those picks down in the first round. Next year the Colts currently have FOUR first round picks.
DJSim has stated the end of the season has been spent starting from scratch with the scouting department. DJ has been very unhappy with selecting players especially in the area's of the offensive and defensive lines as well as at wide receiver where the team has really lacked much play making.
A bit of heat is now on head coach Stanton Johnson to mold this roster into a winner. Johnson was a great offensive coordinator in San Diego, but as the Colts main man, the offense has gone downhill. Offensive Coordinator Rick Reed is on the hot seat with Johnson and DJSim and will need to find an offensive game plan to suite this team. Defensive Coordinator Howard Carpenter similarly needs to improve his side of the ball as a once proud defense has fallen towards the bottom of the league. Sim understands the lack of play makers on the roster and that it has contributed to the coaches struggles. That said, he's not been thrilled with game plans and the ability to coach players up.
Johnson spoke specifically about a handful of players he is excited about in the future. Last years draft was a deeper draft and Johnson thinks they've found the QB of the future in either 4th round pick Kenneth Bonilla or 6th round pick Mark Pool. Bonilla had one horrific start last year when Johnson lost his patience with Armand Meadows and Jonathan Cortez his veteran stop gap QBs. Despite that start and Pool going 0-1 on the season, he believes these not ready for prime time players will be in the mix as soon as 1978 or 1979. Johnson was also excited about rookie LB David Martin as well as secondary swing men Sam Bailey and Matthew Jamison who have been moved around to try and fill holes. An above average secondary has been depleted by a few trades and age, Bailey and Jamison need help so they can fill a certain role.
With the playoffs apon us and the off season near the Colts currently have eight selections, including two of the top eight picks. They also have up to 71 million in cap space if they decide they are ready to wade into the free agency wars they have been sitting out.
In the next few months we will see if the Colts make a big splash or a small ripple while looking to next season and four first round picks to make a big push.