The Indianapolis Colts are a mess, and we've known as much for a while. The relationship between head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson has been pretty bad for a while, but we've received new details on just how bad things are from reports today.
First, it was a report from ESPN's Mike Wells that said that Pagano and Grigson hardly talk anymore and that things are "100 times worse" than the on-field play. Wells later reported that Pagano will be fired after the season but that Grigson will stay - at least until the next coach is hired. The picture continues to be painted, however, that it is Grigson who is most to blame for the Colts' issues.
Tonight, WTHR's Bob Kravitz wrote a pretty damning piece on Ryan Grigson that is very much worth your time. In the piece, sources described Grigson as a "terrible meddler" to Kravitz. Again, you should read the piece, but there are several examples that Kravitz uses to show just how terrible things have become because of Grigson. It was Grigson who insisted that running back Trent Richardson play despite weight and performance issues, with the reasoning being that Grigson wanted the trade (in which he gave up a first round pick) to look better. Similarly, Grigson insisted on keeping Josh Cribbs as the team's return specialist last year despite some struggles. Furthermore, Grigson has really undermined Chuck Pagano's player discipline, not allowing him to enforce things like the coach wants to. One example is with Billy Winn, who was late to some meetings - Pagano wanted to discipline him but Grigson overruled the coach and wouldn't let him. The undermining of discipline led to a source telling Kravitz that "the culture here now is the worst I've ever seen it." And then lastly, Kravitz says that offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was "forced on Pagano" and that everyone in the building knew that Hamilton reported to Grigson, not to Pagano - despite Hamilton coaching on Pagano's staff. There are more, too, but that's all Kravitz was told.
That's more than enough to paint Grigson in a terrible light, however, and it just further goes to show that unless the Colts move on from Grigson they won't be addressing the real issues. The culture at West 56th Street is awful and a very large part of that is due to the general manager. Chuck Pagano has his faults, but he shouldn't have to try to save his job while having to deal with the constant crap that Grigson gives him. Grigson is trying to control everything and overstepping his boundaries, something Kravitz said he does more than even Bill Polian did before him - and that's without Polian's track record or knowledge, either.
The fact that Grigson insisted on playing Richardson to make the trade look better is one of the most striking aspects of this report, because it's something many wondered about but figured he couldn't be that much concerned about making himself look better. It turns out that is exactly what happened, however, as Richardson continued to play and continued to struggle with the Colts. Eventually, Richardson was benched later in the season last year, but many thought it should have happened earlier. It's entirely possible (probably likely) that Chuck Pagano and his staff thought it should happen too but weren't allowed to do so because of Grigson. In that case, how can you possibly blame the coach if he's not allowed to do what he thinks is best for his team?
The Colts are a complete mess, and that's largely because of Ryan Grigson. If he isn't fired, then the issues will likely just continue with the franchise - because right now, those issues very clearly start with him.