BOCA RATON, Fla. – Sitting inside a yacht on Tuesday afternoon, with the sun of Florida lighting up the NFL's Annual Meetings, Jim Irsay thought back to a few days prior.
In honoring Peyton Manning at a press conference in Indianapolis last week and thinking of the upcoming Hall of Fame inductions for Tony Dugny and Marvin Harrison, Irsay took a stroll down memory lane.
Such events serve as mementos to where the baseline is for one of the league's most dominant franchises of the last 20 years.
"Those are echoes. Those reminders, of the expectations around here, are outstanding," Irsay said on Tuesday afternoon.
That permeates throughout the present day Colts.
"There is just a great desire from the nucleolus of this team to produce great things," Irsay said.
"I can't tell you the type of enthusiasm there is, because (2015) was a frustrating year."
With Irsay and his team less than a month away from the start of the 2016 offseason program, the Colts Owner knows there are "no shortcuts to sustained greatness."
Here are 5 takeaways from Irsay's media session at the NFL's Annual Meetings:
Healthy Luck, Contract Up Next
-Andrew Luck is healthy. That's the most important news of the Colts' 2016 offseason. Jim Irsay has spoken with Luck's kidney doctors and has no concerns about lingering effects. Irsay wasn't joking on Tuesday when he said the Colts were/are looking into bringing a baseball coach in to help Luck on his sliding. As far as Luck's second contract, Irsay mentioned a target date of July 4th. There is no immediate hard deadline though in needing to get Luck's contract done. Irsay spoke to the importance of the contract's structure in setting up what the Colts can do financially going forward.Critical Draft Coming For Colts
-The above point brings us to this one. Irsay knows how critical this draft is going to be for the Colts with Luck's pending contract. Drafting, and keeping your own, has been a staple of the Colts' tremendous success in the past 15-20 years. The Colts started to build their defense with last year's draft and following that up again in 2016 would set the franchise up very nicely for the next few years. "The draft is your bloodline," as Irsay says, with the draft coming up April 28-30. Irsay did mention on Tuesday that the Colts are still visiting with a few veteran free agents and that could be an avenue to explore before the draft. From talking to the Colts' brass on Tuesday, they like where the depth of the 2016 class aligns with the team's needs.Important Emphasis On Offensive Line
-Like we've heard all offseason long from the Colts, Jim Irsay has both eyes on the offensive line. There are pieces in place with Irsay looking to shore up the interior. Irsay likes the potential of last year's seventh-round pick Denzelle Good, as a potential starting tackle/guard in this league. There's a reason Irsay met with new offensive line coach Joe Philbin back in January to let the new assistant know of his unit's importance.Darren Sproles 2.0?
-Colts fans know all too well the type of damage Darren Sproles---a speedy option out of the backfield---can do to a team. Irsay said on Tuesday that the staff is evaluating bringing such a component to the Colts. A quick-twitch running back would be an added element the Colts have really never had during this regime. Ryan Grigson followed up on Tuesday that drafting a running back is a definite option with the depth in that class this year.NFL-ers High On Pagano
-Irsay has been a popular man this week. NFL people have come up to the Colts Owner saying he made the right choice in extending Chuck Pagano this offseason. It's quite obvious to Irsay that those around the NFL also think very highly of Pagano. Irsay believes a strong attribute of Pagano is how he (especially) coaches young guys, which falls right in line to how vital this draft is for the Colts.