Let it be known to all that there is an extensively-researched article sitting on my computer, which shall never see the light of day. It was written prior to this year's draft with the express purpose of coming up with an objective standard by which to judge the drafting ability of the Colts' GMs since 1984. It was also an attempt to give Ryan Grigson a boost in the eyes of the readers here by showing from an objective standpoint that he wasn't nearly as awful as some folks here were claiming. I admit it, I was a Grigson apologist.
But I was wrong.
The reports came out regarding a "disconnect" between Grigson and Pagano, and I brushed them off as just random chatter started by teams who were jealous of the success the Colts have had the past three seasons. But then the reports got more specific, and it became harder and harder to ignore them.
- Pagano said that this roster was the best since he'd been in Indianapolis, but then four days later complained about the poor O-Line.
- Grigson was behind the constant rotation at Center last season. The rumors seem to indicate that Pagano doesn't even get to choose the starting lineup.
- Sources say "those close to Pagano believe he will be coaching elsewhere in 2016."
- Irsay claims Pagano isn't "coaching for his job," but the very next day, Pagano says "we're all on one-day contracts."
- After the loss to the Jets, Pagano gave an uncharacteristically negative comment, saying that Luck has had to deal with a crappy O-Line ever since he came into the league--a clear slap in the face of Ryan Grigson.
- In defeating the Titans, the O-Line was overhauled, with Pagano taking sole responsibility for benching Todd Herremans and changing the look. This could easily be seen as a "screw you" move towards Ryan Grigson, whose meddling with the lineup has caused Andrew Luck to get injured and caused the Colts to lose two games that they might have been able to win otherwise.
- The reports are that Pagano doesn't have the final say in who is on the roster, who plays, who starts, or even who coaches.
- Grigson hired Pep Hamilton as the Offensive Coordinator over the objections of the head coach.
After the constant barrage of news and reports, I have to join the chorus of naysayers and say #FireGrigson.
There are several reasons why Grigson does not deserve to be employed by the Colts any longer: These are in no particular order:
Inability to protect the Quarterback.
You'd think someone that played offensive line would understand what it takes to put together a good O-line. But no. He inherited Anthony Castonzo (Chris Polian's only good draft pick), and seems to have gotten a solid played in Jack Mewhort, but otherwise, the line is a rotating garbage heap, with the smells being stronger than the players themselves.
There is some blame to be laid at the feet of the O-line coach (BRING BACK HOWARD MUDD!), but you can't turn crap into chocolate. Grigson's inability to protect Andrew Luck (despite his infamous--and meaningless--writing of "Protect #12") is enough reason to fire him sooner rather than later.
Reducing Chuck Pagano to the Colts' Motivational Speaker
Grigson's interference in coaching decisions is unforgivable. You don't hire a coach and then refuse to let him actually coach (We'll ignore the whole Bill Polian/Jim Caldwell fiasco...). A head coach is supposed to have the final say on who starts, who plays, and who his assistants are. I understand that Grigson deals with the contracts, who to sign, who needs to be cut, etc... but once those decisions are made, he needs to let his coach actually do his job.
As it is, Grigson thinks he's playing Madden, calling all the shots, and running the game as he sees fit, completely forgetting who the coach is. He's handcuffed Pagano and deserves all the blame when the personnel decisions don't work out.
They weren't the best line in the world, but when Pagano actually made the call on who was playing where, the team finally won the game and the offense scored points.
Choosing Pep Hamilton over Rob Chudzinski
It sounded so great. Let's bring in Andrew Luck's old coach to help bring out the best in him. Yeah, that idea sucked. At least Pep Hamilton has finally taken responsibility for sucking so badly.
On the other hand, Pagano's choice was Rob Chudzinski, a recognized up-and-coming offensive mind in the NFL. He took the Carolina Panthers' offense from their worst ever (2010) to the best their franchise had ever seen in ONE YEAR. In his second year as the OC with the Panthers, they still fielded a top-ten offense. The 49ers and Bears both wanted to interview him for their coaching vacancies earlier this year.
Yet Chudzinski--while employed now by the Colts--is being restrained from helping the team. He has no authority, no decision-making capacity in his role as assistant to the head coach.
Grigson deserves all the blame for sticking with Hamilton (he's not working out) and not running with a proven offensive mind in Chudzinski.
Horrible Free Agent Signings
Good-ole George has made several posts and comments pointing out Ryan Grigson's deficiencies in signing decent talent. Kendall Langford, at this point, looks like he might be a winner. Frank Gore is a beast--but again, one can only conclude that the stupid "pitch count" they've got him on is Grigson's doing, too. Thus, he's destroying the impact that his own free agent signings could be having. Other than those two, there's not much to write home about in the 2015 signings (we'll give him a pass on Arthur Jones, since you can't predict injuries).
Andre Johnson stinks thus far. Todd Herremans has finally been benched (where he belonged the whole time). Has there been any other free agent from this year who has made any difference?
Yep, that's all on Grigsy, who is too cheap to go after the proven players at positions of need/importance (O-Line, anyone?).
Bad Drafting Strategy
Notice that I didn't say "bad drafting," but "bad drafting strategy." Especially when you compare his drafting record to Chris Polian, or even Bill Polian's later years, Ryan Grigson is a step up. But his strategy is flawed.
My father-in-law has a saying: "Buy the best that you can afford." So, if priority #1 is protect Andrew Luck, you get the best O-Line talent that is available to you. If that means you miss out on some speedy receiver named Dorsett, so be it. You can afford to spend a first-round pick on an O-Lineman, so DO IT!
You don't spend your first-round draft pick on a project player, ESPECIALLY when you're planning on moving him to a new position (Bjorn Werner was a horrible pick for this team).
We'll all now admit that the Trent Richardson trade was a bust (though I still defended it after a year). For all of 2013 and large parts of 2014, Colts fans were screaming at Chuck Pagano for not benching the putrid running back. But given the information that has come out about Ryan Grigson, it likely wasn't Pagano's doing at all. Grigson probably made the order to keep Richardson in the lineup, hoping that he'd finally do something so Grigson didn't look stupid for trading a 1st-rounder for him.
On the other hand (we've got to be fair, after all), he traded for Vontae Davis, who has become perhaps the best cover corner in the NFL. So, when Grigson hits on a trade, he hits it big. But when he blows it, he really blows it.
I'm sure there are other reasons that the knowledgeable Colts fans can come up with as to why Grigson needs to go. Please share them in the comments section.