On Friday Colts general manager Ryan Grigson held a conference call with Indianapolis media and, of course, the first few questions he was asked were about Jim Irsay's absence from the team and how that will affect the football operations. Basically, Grigson doesn't see it changing much.
In terms of free agency and how involved Irsay is in it and how much it might change now, Grigson said:
"When there's big dollars or there's something major going on, Jim is always right there. Again, he leaves the football stuff to me. He trusts me. That's what he hired me to do. He hired me to make football decisions and so I don't see any of that changing. Again, if there's something major, a transaction that's going to go down, or I need to use his plane in free agency, or if there's something I need to lean on him about, in terms of using his football knowledge, from my benefit and the club's benefit, then I reach out to him. Like I said, he doesn't micro manage. He lets us all do our jobs so I don't really see it being an issue."
Additionally, Grigson was asked whether the draft strategy will change much now:
"No. Not at all. It's still the same setup. Basically, Carlie (Irsay-Gordon) is just in place of Jim, for right now. I don't know if many people realize, but Jim is so experienced and so weathered in terms of football experience and being around the game his whole life. He's never been a micro manager, never has meddled or anything like that. He leaves football decisions up to myself and the head coach. He's really been great in that respect. Carlie is going to be in his place while he's recovering."
None of this should be anything new to anybody reading this site, as that is the exact same thing that we have been saying for a while. Jim Irsay is a former GM and he knows the football side of things, but he lets his football guys do their job and doesn't really meddle in it - something I really respect about Irsay.
Grigson expressed his support for the owner and seems confident that Irsay's absence won't affect the football operations side of things very much, whether it be in free agency or in the draft. We don't know how long Irsay will be gone from the team, as he is currently at a health care facility to get help and that obviously is the most important thing right now. Grigson and the others can handle the football side of things, and it really won't be that different from before. Obviously, they'd love to have Irsay around but he never has been a meddlesome owner or, as Grigson said, a "micro manager." In addition, I would expect a suspension to come for Irsay as punishment from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, so the Colts will likely be without Irsay at some point in the future too. For now, though, Irsay is away getting the help he needs and Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is running the show and he doesn't think it will be that different from normal operations.
Whether there would have been much change or not, the Colts still have work to do, as they still need help at center and free safety especially. It would seem, based on Grigson's comments, that the big moves are done. "You never say you're done, but if something pops up, I'm always looking at it," Grigson said. "If one of my guys brings me a name that is of interest, I'll look at him. We had a plan in place and we feel really good about it. We feel real good where we are at right now." That doesn't exactly sound like they're going to make any big moves, which is very interesting. He spoke about both the safety and center positions, too, and those answers were also telling.
"I'll say this. You lose a player like Antoine Bethea, obviously that's going to be an area of concern, need. We have some players sitting there at that position. Delano Howell is no slouch when he played last year."
"I've fortunately been to three Super Bowls with two teams and on those three teams, all three of those centers were CFAs. That's a position where you can find a quality guy and you don't always need to have a high profile player at that spot."
Very interesting stuff from Grigson. Piecing it together, it sounds like the Colts are done making a big splash in free agency and it would seem like Grigson is confident in Delano Howell, plus in his ability to find a low-profile center for cheap who they can play with. I'm not going to disagree with any of that because it is all true, but the Colts had a lot of cap room to spend and still have an estimated $13 million left. They have the money to work with to add some quality players at those positions. We'll see what happens, but Grigson's comments today were very interesting.