Jim Irsay says Colts stronger strategically

Owner sees an improved team with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and additional pieces added to bolster the defense.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay met with reporters as the NFL draft was winding down Saturday and shared his enthusiasm about the team’s direction.

He brought up what most are talking about, how the Colts surprised media and fans with the first-round selection of Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.

Irsay, 55, advised the Colts considered a trade option before using the 29th overall pick on the speed burner. And he’s glad general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano stuck to the draft board.

“I’m really excited,” Irsay said. “I know there was some surprise probably in the room here and with our fan base when we went with (Phillip) Dorsett with the first pick. I can only tell you I’m so excited to have him. We knew it could come down to that scenario where he was going to be the guy we were looking at. Clearly the best player on the board and at a position that we obviously have a strength at and some depth at.

“He’s a special guy. I’ll tell you, if (late Oakland Raiders owner) Al Davis himself was in the room, and we were picking, he would say, ‘Don’t pass the speed up.’ We really feel we can stress teams with our speed outside and create mismatches and come up really in elite games when it comes down to the top matchups. You have to have your third receiver beat their third cover corner. This gives us an opportunity to do that and it helps on special teams. We couldn’t be more excited to get him.”

Question is, do the Colts think they’ve improved upon the squad that lost 45-7 to the New England Patriots in January’s AFC Championship Game?

“We do,” he said. “I think that, again, patience is something that’s critical. I think that in terms of drafting and getting a group of defensive players that are 26 years and under and that sort of thing, that it’s going to take a little time. People I think forget how empty the cupboards were in 2011 when we started this rebuilding process in 2012. Success happened so quickly, we covered up some of our weaknesses that we’re still trying to strengthen really with some good players.

“We do feel that also sometimes in games, in the New England game for instance, if we could have got a first down, if we could have got something going, if we didn’t have the turnover on special teams, games can be different. We feel internally that the (Jonathan) Newsome sack in Denver may have altered the whole course of that (playoff) game. Just that play. I guess what I’m getting to is in our times that we weren’t successful, we kind of had failure going on both sides of the ball, if not on all three sides. There’s no question we are looking towards being more physical on defense and stopping the run better.”

Irsay finished his answer by discussing toughness, which his teams seemed to lack in losing to the Patriots in road blowouts the past two postseasons.

“I don’t think it’s an aspect of toughness that we lack, just the toughness to get it done,” he said. “I think it’s a question of looking at it strategically, defensively, how we get mismatched. When New England went six offensive linemen on us for instance, how we didn’t adjust. When Pittsburgh went max protection that night, how we didn’t adjust defensively that led to a night that was historic in 90 years. The Steelers had never had six touchdown passes and 600 yards passing. We have to make some adjustments as well to get it done strategically.”

Irsay always has been about winning Super Bowls. And he made his expectation known.

“I think that the realization, for the lack of a better word, in the Andrew Luck era, we’d like to win at least two world championships,” he said. “We don’t shy away from that fact. When you look at that, we look at how we build this roster over the next three years to really be able to go on a run where you can win two Super Bowls in a row. (That’s) when you can really be dominant. Again, that’s working on all phases of the ball.

“I think the (Phillip) Dorsett move is a move that again really gives us a chance to put extreme stress on defenses and do other things. I think that we may still have to keep the tight end to pass protect. I think we’re trying to figure out right tackle, we could make an adjustment internally on who’s playing where as we go into training camp, and those sort of things. It is definitely is a process of being patient and realizing that we want to build the best possible football team we can and we don’t want to get lured into taking shortcuts, for the lack of a better word. That mindset is definitely there.”


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Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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