Colts: Chris Ballard deserves blame for left tackle disaster

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Chris Ballard general manager of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Chris Ballard general manager of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts have a number of injury concerns right now, the most notable of which is Carson Wentz, who, despite being ahead of schedule in his recovery, might not be ready in time to start Week 1.

However, the injuries along the offensive line come in as a close second. Quenton Nelson is on the same timetable as Wentz after undergoing foot surgery.

An elbow injury has sidelined center Ryan Kelly for the last few weeks, though he returned to practice this week.

Even right tackle Braden Smith gave fans a scare while he was dinged up for a few days with a walking boot on his left foot.

Though all concerning, the Colts’ currently have a disaster on their hands at left tackle while Eric Fisher continues his Achilles rehab.

Chris Ballard deserves blame for the Colts’ left tackle situation.

Chris Ballard had an opportunity to nip this in the bud both in free agency and on the trade market, but the GM decided to roll the dice with Fisher and frankly deserves all the criticism coming his way from fans.

While Fisher could end up being a quality starter for Indy, the first five games of the schedule could make or break their season and there’s a chance Fisher is shelved until October.

Instead of pursuing high-end free agents like Trent Williams, Alejandro Villlanueva or Charles Leno, Ballard opted for the cost-effective option in Fisher. The Colts GM also could’ve traded for Orlando Brown, who wound up in Kansas City.

Now, Frank Reich and the rest of the coaching staff are forced to choose from one of Sam Tevi, Julién Davenport or Will Holden, neither of whom have looked like starting material at camp or in the preseason.

We know Ballard had to be conservative with his cap space to dole out top-dollar extensions to Smith, Darius Leonard and eventually Quenton Nelson, but you simply can’t cheap out at a position as important at left tackle.

If the Colts didn’t have questions at quarterback, this wouldn’t even be a discussion. Having what amounts to duct tape at left tackle won’t help Wentz’s confidence when he’s back under center.

More importantly, though, is the impact this will have on Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger, one of whom could be starting Week 1 if Wentz isn’t ready. Starting an experienced QB is one thing. Starting an experienced QB while also not having a reliable option at LT is asking for trouble.

Ballard obviously never could’ve predicted Wentz’s injury, but he sure could have avoided this mess by investing in a left tackle who had zero doubts about his availability for the start of the new campaign.

We’ve been singing Ballard’s praises for the better part of the last four years for the way he’s constructed this roster, and it’s been fully deserved.

However, like any player, he has to be held accountable for his mistakes. If failing to ensure the LT position would be secure for the start of the season doesn’t fall under that category, then nothing does.