The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, just like the bout of flu that hit me like a sledgehammer to the face last week. That bug knocked me flat on my butt right at the time Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson were flapping their gums to the media during their annual press conferences at the Combine.
Josh already provided you a recap of both Pagano's and Grigson's answers to the many questions asked about new "Assistant to the Head Coach" Rob Chudzinski. Here, in this notebook, I'll give you the recap of all the other important stuff they said.
On running back Trent Richardson
Grigson and Pagano were remarkably in lockstep with their answers at the Combine, in particular what they said about Trent Richardson. They made it clear that they expect big things out of the former No. 3 overall pick of the Browns in 2012 who the Colts traded for in 2013 in exchange for what would become the 26th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Grigson on Richardson:
"We're optimistic about his future."
"Well Trent expects what we expect, and that's greatness."
"We all have expectations for Trent and he has expectations for himself."
"We see positives."
Pagano on Richardson:
"The sky's the limit for Trent."
"Important offseason for him and for everybody."
"Moving forward, there's high expectations there, not just from us but for himself."
"He just needs time."
Both the coach and the general manager also pointed out that this was an important offseason for Richardson... and for everyone else.
My Comment: It's a more important offseason for Richardson than any other player on the roster, including Andrew Luck. Grigson and Pagano are now tied to Richardson, and thus it benefits them to say that others must step up and play better too. However, Richardson has to improve more so than anyone else. If he has another 3-yards-a-carry season, there has to be some accountability on the part of both men. Grigson especially.
On free agency
Ryan Grigson made it a point to stress that the new league year will not result in the Colts going on another shopping spree in free agency, as they did last year. With looming free agents like Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and others coming after the 2014 season, Grigson seemed more concerned with locking up his young talent than, say, giving $8 million dollars to another crop of glorified backups, like he did last year.
"We have to be very prudent and fiscally sound as we go forward."
My Comment: Don't look for a lot of big spending by the Colts this year.
If this comment from Grigson doesn't convince you that Satele is getting cut, nothing will:
"As for Samson, as I said, this is an evaluation process. We have a plan in place. We're not going to divulge that to anyone. We're taking all the time and due diligence and the film work and, like I said, that's something for the organization to know and you guys will find out at some point."
My Comment: Satele's donzo.
On Erik Walden
Regarding the underwhelming Erik Walden, who was signed last year to a ridiculous contract worth $16 million over 4 years, Chuck Pagano praised his linebacker's ability to stop the run even though the Colts had one of the worst run defenses in all of football:
"Erik's a good football player."
"First criteria is the player has to set the edge, and Erik did a great job of doing that."
"Really pleased with Erik."
My Comment: I'm sure you are, coach. Walden counts $4.25 million against the cap this year. This for a guy who produced 3 sacks and 56 total tackles.
On the 2014 NFL Draft
Ryan Grigson said that it's OK that the Colts don't have a first round pick this year.
"We got our first round pick in September with Trent Richardson."
He also ended his press conference at the Combine with this little nugget in response to a question about, possible, trading back into the first round:
"Don't rule out anything. That's all I'll say."
My Comment: I'll rule it out. Grigson doesn't have anything to trade, unless he can con some idiot into taking Walden's or LaRon Landry's contracts.
All in all, both Pagano and Grigson pretty much said nothing of any great importance. What information we can get is in analyzing their answers and, by reading through the bull crap, come up with the following:
They have high expectations for Trent Richardson
Their fates are tied to Richardson
Samson Satele is a goner in Indianapolis
They seem pleased with the depth they think they have
Honestly, I didn't come away from either of their pressers feeling especially confident. Both men looked tight and serious, which is a bit of a departure from how both approached the Combines in 2012 and 2013. Granted, Pagano's appearance last year was more of a, "Hey, how you feeling, Coach," moment, which was understandable seeing as he was still recovering from cancer treatments the year prior.
This year, both men appeared a bit more sober. A bit more tense. They also spent a lot of time talking about nothing, which is also a bit of a change. Usually, Grigson and Pagano are more candid.
That's just how I read it.