INDIANAPOLIS – As general manager Chris Ballard evaluates candidates hoping to be the Colts’ next head coach, it’s not as much past experience he’s analyzing, rather a vision for the future.

“The ability to build a plan around how we’re gonna win, what our identity’s gonna be, and how we’re gonna win with who’s playing quarterback is important,” Ballard explained.

The first candidate the Colts are interviewing for the position is current special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone, first reported by the NFL Network. So far, the external candidates Ballard is reportedly interviewing for the job are Rams’ defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Eagles’ offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, both Lions’ coordinators: Aaron Glenn and Ben Johnson, and Broncos’ defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. At the end of the day though, Ballard knows the choice is not up to him, but to Colts’ owner Jim Irsay.

“Ultimately, (Irsay) will make the final call,” Ballard said, “but he will lean heavily on our work and what we do to get the coaching candidates in place.”

With the decision in Irsay’s hands, Jeff Saturday will be strongly considered for the job, even after the Colts took a nosedive to end the season with seven straight losses under his leadership. Ballard provided a possible reason behind that disastrous finish.

“You can’t do wholesale changes when you come in week eight,” he analyzed. “That starts in April.”

But Saturday himself recognized the importance of concrete results earlier this season, saying he knew his name would be attached to wins and losses, and “I’m about W’s and L’s”. Now this week, Saturday tried to rationalize why the results were so poor.

“When you say an eight-game audition,” Saturday claims, “it was an eight-game audition with half an offensive staff, boundaries that you don’t come in, so yeah, it’s an eight-game audition with the hand you’re dealt.”

Was it the hand Saturday was dealt or the guiding hand Saturday provided that caused the Colts’ downfall? That’s a question Chris Ballard must answer (among many others) over the coming weeks before Jim Irsay makes a final decision.