INDIANAPOLIS – At almost every question of Chris Ballard's opening press conference he kept on reverting back to that four letter word sports is all about.
Team. Team. Team.
What Ballard made crystal-clear on Monday during his introductory press conference, with his new scouting staff and coaching staff in attendance watching intently, was that the decision-making he will lead inside the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center will result from team decisions.
From days coaching the defensive backs for Ron Harms at Texas A&M-Kingsville, to his last stop with Andy Reid in Kansas City, Ballard has the team aspect of football an absolute pillar.
The first sign of team on Monday came when Ballard expanded on his "simple" vision for the Colts.
"We are going to work together as an organization to build a winning culture that is competing for championships year in and year out," Ballard said. "That's easier said than done, and it's going to take a lot of hard work by everybody.
"Everyone will have to understand that we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves and that every decision we make will be in the best interest of the Horseshoe. It will never be about one person; it will take all of us to come together as one. We will set high standards throughout the organization and make sure that winning becomes our edge. This has to happen at every level of the organization and we have to make sure that we have an organization full of team-oriented problem solvers to get this done."
When Ballard spoke about the Colts' organization earlier this week, he wasn't just talking about the present.
One of the specific reasons Ballard was attracted to the opening in Indianapolis was because of the rich history he's witnessed during his 16 previous seasons in the NFL.
Ballard directly touched on his hope to bring more alumni players around the present-day Colts.
"To our past players, who have created such high expectations and high standards, we will make you proud of the team that we are going to build together and know that you are always welcome back here in Indianapolis," Ballard said.
"I think it's very important to bring back the former players and get them around our current players so they understand the history and the high standards that have been set by the past successes. I care about our ex-players in this game and I want to help them find their life's work. I want to help our current players find their life's work. I think that is very important."
Ballard wants the historical success to play a role in building things with the Colts, while also incorporating some new ways (Ballard mentioned the use of analytics in the talent evaluation process).
When Ballard uses the word team, he's also referring to his own staff.
"Everything and every decision we make we will do together," Ballard says of the personnel/coaching side of things.
"The draft room, in my mind, is a lot like the locker room, a special place. You better not be defensive, because we're going to poke holes in guys and we're going to make that guy earn his way to be an Indianapolis Colt. He's going to earn his way."
And down the hallway from that, Ballard knows players who earn the Colts' drafting will be entering the room that must be in harmony.
"The locker room is very important and you can't win without a strong one," Ballard says. "You can't buy a locker room (and) that has to be developed over time.
"We want a locker room full of guys that love football, are self-driven to be great and will push each other to be great every day."
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