The Indianapolis Colts announced on Thursday, February 9th, they are releasing veteran inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. The ten-year veteran had one of his worst seasons racking up 78 combined tackles in 12 games along with only 1 sack. It is no secret that Indianapolis had one of the worst defenses in the league during the 2016 season. They were ranked 27th in passing defense and 25th in rushing defense, which is terrible. So it is safe to say that not one player is safe this coming offseason from the Colts 2016 defense. The only thing that will hurt the Colts, somewhat, after releasing Jackson is the loss of veteran leadership. Now, that responsibility falls to Andrew Luck to become more of a vocal leader to help fill that void.
Chris Ballard has expressed that he views improving the Colts defense as his top priority this coming season. D’Qwell Jackson was a player that had two good years at Indy in 2014 and 2015 where he totaled 290 combined tackles and 7 sacks. However, the 33-year-old Jackson showed inconsistency this season and made it clear that this defense needs a full “re-model” from the defensive line all the way to the secondary. The Colts now have a very long list of needs on defense with the loss of 3 of their 4 starting linebackers from the 2016 season. Young players such as Eddie Jackson and Antonio Morrison did little to impress and are not guaranteed to be a starter or even on the roster in 2017.
Chris Ballard is clearly looking to come in and make multiple changes to the Indianapolis Colts. Which is something that must happen if they have any hope of becoming the dominant team of the past? The Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans have improved greatly and have moved past the Colts to be the favorites to win the AFC South in 2017. If Houston brings in Jimmy Garoppolo, the Colts are going to be in a very competitive division. Especially with how much talent the Texans have on the defensive side of the ball. And let’s not forget about the Jacksonville Jaguars. They are in need of just a couple more pieces, especially quarterback, and they could surpass the Colts in overall talent. This could be the Indianapolis Colts most important offseason in the last 10 years. Chris Ballard must make the right moves if the Colts plan to make the post season.