INDIANAPOLIS –Jim Irsay is never one to hide feelings about his football team.
For the past couple of offseasons, Irsay has made it clear where improvements were needed.
Judging by Chris Ballard's first offseason, one with a potential seven new defensive starters coming over to the Colts, the message has been heard by the team's new general manager.
"Going forward everyone knows the focus we have on defense," Irsay said last month at a Town Hall event for 2,000 season ticket members. "We've added already some young, outstanding football players on defense.
"I didn't think we would be this far along quite frankly, as we are. We have a ways to go. I'm not saying we are there, but we've made a lot of progress."
Watching Ballard's bevy of moves this offseason has given Irsay an extension of the January interview process.
Irsay wants fans to know their team is in good hands.
"You learn probably more once you hire them and start working with them then you do trying to find out everything you can during that process of interviewing," Irsay said of Ballard's first handful of months on the job.
"I just have to tell our fans that Chris Ballard is the real thing. I'm telling you that there's many a team out there that wanted him. He wanted to be here."
Ballard's presence in Indianapolis has led to some significant changes in personnel.
Like Irsay said, the total re-tooling of the Colts is not complete.
The faces have largely changed in Indianapolis, but the end goal for Irsay has not, and will not.
"I'm really excited with where we are going as a franchise," Irsay says.
"I've said it before, we are into plural Lombardi's. That's what our goal is. That's what we are pursuing. I'll be damned if we don't go out and get that. I'll be damned if we don't go out and get that."
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