AFC Notes: Carson Wentz, Colts, Jaguars, Texans


Colts GM Chris Ballard was quite unhappy when his team missed the playoffs after an embarrassing loss to the worst team in the league in Week 18.

“Losing is not acceptable,” Ballard said, via Stephen Holder. “We got our ass beat in Jacksonville. There are no layups in this league. Everybody can beat your ass. They came out and they performed and we didn’t. We finished 2-5 in one-score games… some of that is a little bit random, but we have to come out better in one-score games. I don’t want to ignore the good… I think we’d all agree that on Christmas night, we felt pretty good about where we were going. We just didn’t finish the job. When you have a moment of failure, that’s when you find out. You have to accept who you are. We’re a 9-8 football team. That’s who we are. That’s on my shoulders. We won’t overreact. But we’ll evaluate everything.”

Ballard also commented on HC Frank Reich, QB Carson Wentz, and finding a potential replacement for LT Eric Fisher. However, LG Quenton Nelson likely won’t be sliding over.

“When we made the decision to make a move on Carson, at the time of the decision, we felt good about it,” said Ballard. “And I still don’t regret it… I won’t make a comment on who’s going to be here and who’s not going to be here. That’s not fair. We got on a roll there and were playing really good ball until the final two weeks of the season…We have processes in place. I’m not going to overreact. But I’m pissed. We embarrassed ourselves. We need to find a long-term answer at left tackle. But it’s got to be the right guy to be the long-term answer.”

  • Ballard said he would not place all the blame on Wentz but still believes the quarterback position should be held accountable: “We’ve got a lot of good players and a lot of good pieces. You’ve got to have stability at the QB position, and he has to play up to his potential. Left tackle is what the left tackle is. We short-term fixed it, we need a long-term solution. We might have to short-term fix it again.”  (Joel A. Erickson)
  • Ballard fully supported Reich during his press conference: “He’s a good head coach. Four years here, three winning seasons, and the losing season was my fault. We’re lucky to have him.” (Joel A. Erickson)
  • Ballard on moving Nelson to left tackle, adding that T Matt Pryor could be an option for the time being: “Why would you move a Hall of Fame left guard to left tackle?”  (Kevin Bowen)


  • Aaron Wilson reports the Jaguars may take another two weeks before naming a new head coach, which includes a second round of interviews.
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes the buzz for Alabama OC Bill O’Brien is real and the former Texans head coach has a shot at returning to the AFC South in Jacksonville, potentially paired with former Broncos HC Vic Fangio at defensive coordinator. 
  • Fowler adds both former Eagles HC Doug Pederson and former Lions HC Jim Caldwell interviewed well and the search is still open. 
  • Fowler mentions some in league circles think Pederson might pitch former Bears HC Matt Nagy as his offensive coordinator. 


  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the Texans only guaranteed two years of HC David Culley‘s deal when they hired him last year, an omen of their decision Thursday to fire him after just one year. 
  • Aaron Wilson adds Culley’s remaining guaranteed salary was just $4 million, the lowest of any head coach in the league. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes not to carry the same assumptions as last year regarding a potential trade involving Texans QB Deshaun Watson. He says Watson’s desire to play for the Dolphins went beyond the presence of HC Brian Flores, while the picture has changed in Carolina, Denver and Philadelphia. 

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