Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano talks about the status of Peyton Manning (not pictured) at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
After just one day of the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, I've already determined it's better than last year.
The first bit of great news is we got to hear from both Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson and Head Coach Chuck Pagano, a marked improvement from last year. Sure both guys got hounded with Peyton Manning questions, with the biggest news being that neither of them have seen #18 throw, but there was some other nice nuggets that came out of their 15 minute sessions.
Grigson still looks intense, ready to get to work, and I'm sure will start smoothing out the edges as time goes on. I sat next to Brittany Diehl and Chris Hagan from FOX 59 here in Indy, and in front of Indy Star's Bob Kravitz, and their only comment about the Colts GM is they feel really bad for him at this point, basically getting thrown into the fire with this whole Manning situation. I guess the positive is that if he can get through this, there won't be too many tougher situations.
Pagano, on the other hand, looked like a kid in a candy store. He looked so excited to be in his position, and is ready to get after it right now. He said he's got a ton of "non-football stuff" that he wants to be done with, which I'm assuming meant all the Free Agency/Salary Cap manipulating the Colts will have to do over the next few weeks. Listening to him talk, he had me pumped and ready to play for him, and he was just answering questions. Pagano has the special ability to seem very reserved, but is a great motivator. It's not an over-the-top style like what Jon Gruden, but I bet he's a "fiery" as the Monday Night Football "guy".
There was one guy during Grigson's presser that incessantly kept coming back to the Manning issue after everyone else had moved on. There were several media member that let out an audible groan when he asked the third "clarification" question.
Another positive from last year? The lunch was better, and the cookies were about the same, which was nice. Dan from Mocking the Draft had the brilliant idea to sit in the back corner by where the food was put, so we could see exactly when it was put out and jump on it. A line forms really fast, and you have to go quick, as you never know when a player will come in that you want to talk to.
There were more radio stations from around the country that were in town broadcasting, including the newest "pundit/prognosticator" Bill Polian. There were only two a year ago. There were also several TV set-ups out in the concourse, with the biggest one being for ESPN's NFL32. I don't remember any of those last year.
There weren't that many players today, so I'm guessing the next three days are going to be very busy. I talked with Georgia C Ben Jones, Notre Dame T Taylor Dever, Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler, and Purdue K Carson Wiggs. The biggest name was USC T Matt Kalil, and he had a pretty big crowd around him.
I'm excited for tomorrow, as we should get to talk to a lot more players. The schedule says QBs, RBs, and WRs, but I don't expect either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III to make an appearance until Saturday. We should see a whole host of wide-outs though. Remember for the best real-time coverage follow the SB Nation guys on Twitter:
- Matt (me) - @mgrex03
- Stew Blake - @stewblake22
- Dan Kadar - Mocking the Draft - @mockingthedraft
- Kevin Ewoldt - Hogs Haven - @HogsHaven