Colts general manager Ryan Grigson might be feeling the heat. Or, if not the heat, he's at least squirming a bit more uncomfortably in his press box chair during games.
Now that his Colts are losers of 3 of their last 5 games, and have looked utterly atrocious in those loses (particularly on defense), it seems that Grigson is looking for excuses rather than take the blame for building a very flawed and poor performing roster.
Here's Grigson himself, via Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star:
Grigson was asked his level of concern over the way his team has played in the last month and change.
He responded by pointing quickly to the injuries that have mostly decimated the offense. They've lost their two best running backs, best wide receiver, best tight end and one of their best offensive linemen.
" 'Next man up' and everything, but there's got to be a next man," he said. "Sometimes there isn't a next man. We'll continue to scour the street and the practice squads, keep looking under every rock, but we've got to be able to convert on third downs and get Andrew (Luck) back into rhythm. We need a third down option, that go-to guy, and I hope they're emerging now.
"But it seems like at every point in the season we've had a key piece ripped from us to where we've had to redefine ourselves. But we'll keep grinding, keep moving the chess pieces."
Sorry Mr. Grigson, but injuries aren't the reason why Chuck Pagano's defense got blasted Sunday against the Bengals.
Once again, the Colts - a team Pagano and Grigson wanted to be "physical" and control the line of scrimmage - surrendered over 150 rushing yards. The Bengals were 3-3 in goal-to-goal efficiency. They were 5-5 in the redzone. They scored 42 points even though the Colts did not commit a turnover. They converted 50% of their third down plays.
The defense was so bad I thought Larry Coyer was back calling plays.
All this, and, last I checked, the only significant injury the Colts's defense has had to deal with much of this year is Greg Toler's groin. Sorry, but Greg Toler isn't the difference between the Colts defense playing decent ball and them playing like they did on Sunday.
The injury excuse is much more understandable when looking at the offense, but even there I think it's a cheap way to deflect blame. Losing Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Allen, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Vick Ballard hurts, but those guys wouldn't necessarily have masked the glaring weaknesses the Colts have along their offensive line. The two worst linemen - guards Mike McGlynn and center Samson Satele - are players Grigson himself brought in via free agency.
And then there is wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. He isn't hurt. He just stinks at catching the football. DHB had another big drop this week, and his replacement, Da'Rick Rogers, caught 6 balls for 107 yards and 2 scores. DHB's time in Indianapolis is basically over. He, like McGlynn and Satele, is another high profile Grigson signing.
Yes, this is the same man who, just one year ago, won the 2012 NFL Executive of the Year award. Doesn't matter. As fantastic as Grigson was in 2012, his moves this season have been a hot mess. If his tactic now is to use injuries as the reason why his roster is a train wreck, he'll need everyone to have a collective brain drain and forget that many of the poor performers on this team are "chess pieces" Ryan Grigson himself brought to the board.