Based purely on the fact that the Colts have struggled on the field this season in a contract year for head coach Chuck Pagano, his job status would be called into doubt. There's enough question that has arisen from his performance on the field to warrant uncertainty around his job status, but that isn't the whole story, either. And the other part of the story is much more glaring and likely a bigger reason why Pagano will certainly be fired following the team's regular season finale this Sunday.
The other part that we're talking about is the relationship between Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson. You have surely heard about it if you've been following the team whatsoever in the past year or two, as it has been incredibly prevalent and widely reported. Grigson is meddling in lineup changes (something that Stampede Blue confirmed as true last year with the center change). Grigson was the one who hired Pep Hamilton for Pagano's coaching staff. There is reportedly a "growing disconnect" between Grigson and Pagano - and that was back in September. It got bad enough that the players called a players-only meeting mid-season this year to try to refocus in the midst of so many coaching questions and front office tension. And some in the Indianapolis media wonder whether Pagano would even want to return if the Colts wanted him back.
ESPN's Mike Wells has joined the party by adding some insight into just how bad things are in the front office at West 56th Street:
As bad as things have been on the field this season for the Colts (7-8), things are "100 times worse" inside the organization when it comes to the relationship between Pagano and Grigson. One NFL source described the relationship as "toxic." It has reached the point where Grigson and Pagano have little communication with each other, according to multiple sources.
So, yeah. Things are really, really bad right now with the Colts. Wells goes on to note that Grigson is the more likely to stay of the two because of the fact that he has a year left on his contract and is very close with the Irsay family.
We all know how bad the Colts' play has been on the field this year, so to describe the relationship between Pagano and Grigson as "100 times worse" than the team's play is significant. I mean, when your head coach and general manager hardly have any communication with each other anymore because of how much they don't get along, I'd say that things have gotten pretty bad. That ultimately falls on Jim Irsay for letting things fester to this point, and it should lend support to the opinion that Irsay needs to clean house. But it continues to sound like Grigson's job status is uncertain, and my question with that would be this: who would want to come to Indianapolis as the head coach if Grigson is in charge? With how bad things are between Grigson and Pagano, what coach in their right mind would want to work with Grigson? I'm sure no established head coach - the kind that Irsay will likely want to go after - would agree to work for Grigson. I'll have more thoughts on Grigson's status later this week, but with how bad things are, I think the Colts need to clean house. Whether they actually do is another question entirely.