At his post-draft press conference Saturday night, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was (rightfully) asked about the safety and center positions, as neither of them were addressed in the draft despite being noticeable question spots. While the questions were absolutely fair and reasonable, Ryan Grigson got a bit testy answering them. Before I begin, though, keep in mind that most of his answers were his typical self, but the few questions that were about center seemed to trigger some testy answers from Grigson. Don't make too much out of it, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Asked if he believes Khaled Holmes is really the answer at center, Grigson replied:
"Khaled's our center. Like we said, Jack (Mewhort) has played center, Donald (Thomas) has snapped. We're going to be fine."
Then asked whether he took the team's pre-conceived convictions about the safety and center position into the draft, he said:
"Just to give you guys clarity, if you go in our pro room and you look at all the depth charts throughout the league and you look at the guys that were starting at safety for the Patriots last year, rarely are you ever going to get two blue safeties back there. You're not going to get two Pro Bowlers back there. You're very fortunate if you have Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry. That's a perfect world. It doesn't happen very often. Like you said, Delano Howell has played some really good snaps for us. We feel good about Delano and we're hoping some of these other guys rise to the occasion. We signed Colt Anderson. We've got some guys that have had some starts in this league. Corey Lynch has played 12 starts in this league. Someone is going to emerge. Again, there's also June 1 cuts. At any position, we're always looking to get better."
So basically Grigson said that last year was a "perfect world," yet he didn't spend the money to keep that perfect world? I'm not saying it was the wrong decision, but if he thought it was a perfect world, why not keep it that way? But anyway, let's continue. Things really got testy when Grigson was asked why fans should have confidence in Khaled Holmes as their team's starting center (a perfectly fair question to ask, I might add). Grigson said:
"Because we've done our homework. Because we're the ones that have studied. We're the ones that have watched all the film and not just 10 YouTube clips. We went into the school, had multiple scouts watch him, had our o-line coach work him out. Thirty-seven starts at USC, it's not like it's ‘Whatsa Matta U'. It's a pretty good program. The thing is too just to help you understand, we're going to put the best players possible and we go to every length, every length, we go to other continents. We're trying our best. If you look at other teams around the league, very rarely do you have just a true center waiting in the wings to play for you. It's usually a guy that's a guard that can snap to get you out of a game. Rarely do you have a surefire frontline starter sitting there waiting in the wings for you. We took Khaled in the fourth round because we believed that eventually he could be the guy. Even in the 12 snaps he played, they were 12 pretty good snaps. We saw him for a whole year practice, do one-on-ones. Now he's going to be in the mix. When you're redshirt, you have a different mindset. Now you can see the competitive juices. When you see there's two guys in front of you, it's a different mindset. Now he's in the mix and it's good."
First of all, Grigson has a huge thing wrong in that fans don't watch tape (and also, coach Chuck Pagano took a shot at bloggers, which was nice). I watch a lot of tape (even though many of you might doubt it). I know a lot of people who watch tape. Especially since NFL Rewind has made coaches film available to media and fans, we can and do watch the film. For Grigson to use that answer feels like a cop-out, and he used it multiple times in the press conference. In fact, I don't remember Grigson ever playing the card that he's the GM so don't doubt him as much as he did in this press conference. There are numerous guesses as to why, but it was interesting to me that after a draft that he supposedly felt pretty good about, he got so testy and defensive. Especially the question that really got him going, the one about why fans should have confidence in Khaled Holmes starting, is a very fair one. He needs to remember that fans are the ones that pay the money that keeps him employed and that, whether he likes it or not, many fans are asking about the safety and center positions. Just giving a few simple reasons why he believes in Holmes would have been good enough for a lot of fans, but instead he got testy and mentioned how he's done his homework. I don't doubt that whatsoever, but I think Ryan Grigson needs to know that the mantra fans used to have, "In Grigson we trust," has worn off quite a bit. It used to be that fans blindly trusted him, but that's not the case anymore. I'm not saying I know more than the Colts' general manager, but I've watched the film and I have questions about the roster, and many fans do to.
It may simply have been that he was tired after a very long weekend, but judging by Ryan Grigson's testy answers that were out of character for him, I wonder if he too has doubts about the roster that he was tasked with putting together.