As is the case every Monday night, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson appeared on 1070 the Fan this evening to take part in the Colts Roundtable show.
On the show, Grigson will take questions from host Bob Lamey and from callers (plus some from social media) about the team, and it’s one of our only chances to hear from Grigson during the season. Unfortunately no one asked him about his comments last week regarding Andrew Luck’s contract (who knows if they would have let that question be aired anyway), but there were still plenty of things to note.
Below is a recap of what Grigson said, with direct quotes at times and summaries at others.
- Grigson began by talking generically about the win, saying that it’s “much better than the alternative.” He mentioned that coming back from that flight last week from London was brutal, but a win makes for a much better environment. There are a lot of good vibes with the team right now, but Grigson made clear that they still have their work cut out for them after they went over the film. At the end of the day, though, “it’s hard to get wins in this league and we’re happy to have gotten one.”
- A caller asked Grigson who the biggest leader on the team is, and the first guy the GM pointed out was Andrew Luck. “Andrew has become a really strong leader, more vocal than ever.” But Grigson also mentioned Adam Vinatieri, Robert Mathis, and Frank Gore as good leaders. Vinatieri “doesn’t even have to say anything, but he does every once in a while, and [it’s] very rare, obviously, for a specialist, but two of our specialists are two of the best in the league and Adam is maybe the greatest of all-time, if not the greatest; what he’s done so far is extraordinary. Mathis, Gore - Gore and Mathis too are tremendous in that respect. They have so much respect and their body of work speaks for itself.”
- Another caller asked Grigson about the up-tempo, no-huddle offense, and Grigson seemed receptive to it. He liked the fact that they scored on their first four possessions and acknowledged that. “We did have success with it. I do think there has to be a balance because you have to take the defense into account and so forth and how much they’re on the field, and Andrew [Luck] does a great job with [the no-huddle], obviously. So I think that there is some merit there, definitely, and when we have [gone up-tempo] we’ve done a very good job with it. It takes the pressure off of the line to a degree, there’s a lot of positives. But there’s also, you have to look at it from a macro perspective as well depending on what the defense, how long they’re going to be out there and we have been down in numbers and so forth, so it’s more than just, ‘hey let’s do this every series.’ But I think it was definitely a positive.” After a follow-up by Bob Lamey, Grigson acknowledged that Andrew Luck is definitely comfortable with it, but there’s a lot more that’s involved with it and that it’s for the coaches to decide just how much to use it and when based on those other factors.
- Grigson also noted that the defense got some key stops, particualrly pointing out the forced fumble near the end that D’Qwell Jackson recovered. Jackson “saved us there with that recovery,” Grigson said, adding that he was hoping they wouldn’t get robbed on replay of that turnover. Grigson said that Jackson is a great leader and that he played a role in getting guys back on track on Sunday, which helped lead to a win. Ultimately, though, Grigson said that the team needs better fundamentals - such as tackling for the defense - and that it applies to both sides of the football.
- Grigson was also asked about Darius Butler, who fractured a finger on Sunday and will undergo surgery on Tuesday morning. Grigson said that it’s Butler’s middle finger and that it’s a “minor surgery but to stabilize it.” Grigson said that they’ll just need to see how his pain tolerance is with the injury, but that he helps the whole defense when he’s on the field because he’s smart, gets guys in the right place, is around the ball, and is a ball-hawk who helps create turnovers. “I really hope he gets back sooner rather than later.”
- Grigson was asked whether he’s looking at any free agent pass rushers, and he gave the standard answer that they’re always looking for free agents and always discussing how to upgrade position groups. He then talked about the defense overall, however, and said that it comes down to consistency. “I think we can play good, sound defense, and that day has yet to come but I think we can eventually get there.” Grigson pointed out that the team has a lot of young guys, and that especially off the edge Akeem Ayers and Curt Maggitt are still new to it. On Maggitt, Grigson says that he “plays really hard, [he’s] doing a heck of a job on special teams, [he] has to develop some of his pass rush skills and things like that.” Grigson also mentioned T.J. Green and Antonio Morrison among the young players, but added that Clayton Geathers “has kind of established himself.” Still, though, the GM said that “we’re going to have some bumps along the way because they are young players,” but Grigson likes the fact that when the young guys make mistakes they do so at 150 miles per hour and that the mistakes will even itself out. He said that it’s important with so many rookies on the team, however, that the veterans on both sides of the ball are not making mistakes that rookies would make.
- Asked about the secondary, Grigson said that they really liked Patrick Robinson this offseason when watching the tape and that he has good movement and has shown good ball skills in practice but that he hasn’t really had a chance to show it yet because he’s been dinged up. Grigson said that the safety group has been a “real bright spot” with Clayton Geathers, Mike Adams, and T.J. Green - he said the Colts are “really high on those guys.” He also said that Vontae Davis has been playing really well but that you don’t really notice him, “which is a good thing.” He said that the team just needs to get Robinson some confidence right now, but overall he thinks the secondary is one of the strengths of the team.
- A caller asked a good question of who an underrated player on the team is, and Grigson then turned it into who some unheard of players are. He mentioned both Henry Anderson and Kendall Langford (and said that Anderson isn’t quite back yet health-wise), and he added that he doesn’t really even consider Ryan Kelly a rookie anymore “but he’s a guy I think that is on the come.” Grigson likes Denzelle Good and Joe Haeg and thinks that the more continuity and snaps they get then they’ll iron out the issues, because he thinks that they have the traits to play at a starter’s level and then eventually play at a high level in this league. Grigson mentioned that Antonio Morrison is “working through the kinks out there, but he plays with such physicality.” He also mentioned T.J. Green, who is a long, fast, athletic, and physical player, and he noted that just under 40% of the roster is comprised of first and second year players, meaning they have “good young talent on this team.” He then mentioned one more guy, Josh Ferguson. “He’s got to knock out the rookie mistakes, he’s doing a really good job on special teams for us, but he’s got to make the plays when they’re there as well and catch the football the football, secure those catches, because he can help us with that speed he has.”
- Asked a follow-up question about Edwin Jackson, Grigson pointed out that the Colts actually signed him to their practice squad at the end of last year but that they brought him in for a workout in week one last year and liked him off of Arizona’s pre-season film, plus he made “a zillion tackles at Georgia Southern.” Grigson said that it was one of those things where they were waiting to get him a spot on the practice squad, and then on day one he made a great play on the ball, so in training camp, on the practice squad, and in preseason he’s played at a high rate of speed and with urgency. “Perfect special teams guy, but he’s got to learn and know the game as well because he might be called upon at some point.” Grigson then noted a common thread a lot of the young players have: they have a lot of speed, burst, and energy, but they also all have a love for the game they play with a high amount of ferocity and finish.
- The last question provided by far the most interesting answer, as someone asked Grigson whether the Colts would consider playing T.J. Green at cornerback and the GM seemed to get particularly excited about that question. “That’s a great question man, thanks for your call,” Grigson said. “That’s a great question. And I tell you what, he’s been out there at practice and we’ve seen him in those matchups and it sure looks right. When you watch it and you just watch him press, flip his hips, and run, I mean, there was a lot of teams that would have played him and made him a corner in this league. There was a lot of them that would have just made him a corner right off the bat. So yeah, that’s something that Coach [Chuck Pagano] and I have talked about at points, just that if we ever get in a jam, I mean here’s a guy that flat out has length, can run, can press, and there’s a lot of nuances at the position that he would have to learn, but at least you know one thing: he’s big, long, and fast, and heck, he can make up for any mistakes because he has tremendous make-up speed, 4.34. But right now, he’s filling a great role on [special] teams, just even he had the gaff there on the field goal [last week], but he’s shot out of the cannon coming off the edge there. He’s got so much explosion. But we’re excited about having him on the field in any role possible, because like I said that safety group is pretty good, even you throw in Matthias Farley in there too, he’s no slouch.”
- The final thing that Bob Lamey pointed out to Grigson was that, if the team wins their game against the Texans this Sunday, they’re in first place in the AFC South. Grigson said that’s why it’s important that they concencrate on what they can control and keep the blinders on, because last week they were left for dead but now they’re right back in the mix again. He said that it’s a week-to-week league and that there’s so much parity right now, which is why it’s a great league as there are a lot of great teams. He pointed out that the teams that are winning right now might not even make the playoffs, as it’s a marathon, not a sprint. He pointed out that the Colts have been in every game so far and when they’ve lost it’s been in the final minutes, so “we know that, and we know for the last five years we’ve competed and won despite any type of adversity we’ve faced.”