As has been the case all season, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson took questions on the Colts Roundtable show on 1070 the Fan Monday night, a day after the Colts’ devastating loss to the Houston Texans in overtime, 26-23.
Below is a recap of what Grigson had to say tonight, with direct quotes in some places and summaries in others.
- Grigson began by saying that leadership comes into play in helping to not let players fall into their human nature of just sitting around and writhing in the loss. And as for the loss itself, Grigson said that, “it does stink because there was an opportunity for so much to be gained and to build off so many positives.” He said that it’s about playing four quarters of football but that the Colts didn’t do that.
- A listener asked Grigson why the offensive line is struggling so much, and Grigson said, “I feel the exact opposite. I feel it’s going in the right direction.” He noted that they allowed one sack through three quarters, but that the fourth quarter wasn’t as good. But he thinks that the flashes from the offensive line are positives and that Joe Haeg [at right tackle] and Denzelle Good [at right guard] are settling in nicely. He thinks that the line is making good progress, and he pointed out Frank Gore’s 106 yards rushing as an example of that. Grigson then noted that if the Colts had won everyone would be talking about the great things that the Colts did, so they need to build off of those positives regardless “because there was a lot of good.” They just didn’t finish, he said, and that’s been the story of the year for them.
- Someone asked Grigson about Chuck Pagano’s decision to not kick the field goal on the fourth and 1 play in the third quarter, and Grigson just said that he supports Pagano. He said that it’s a coaching decision and that the coaches don’t spend the hours they do putting in plays that don’t work. He said that if the conversion worked and went for seven points, everyone would be having a different conversation, so hindsight is 20/20. He did note that there are a lot of positives in the run game working in their favor, but again emphasized that coaching decisions are not his area. Grigson also pointed out that even teams that win Super Bowls can still go back and go through the film and wish they had done things differently, though they never know if it’d work out because they didn’t actually do it. Grigson said that the Colts just have to build off the positives that were there.
- The most interesting part of Grigson’s comments were those about the injury situation, as listening to Bob Lamey and Ryan Grigson’s conversation didn’t seem to exude optimism about the situations. Lamey pointed out that Sunday’s game wasn’t good injury-wise, to which Grigson said, “No, we had a lot of guys go down, and we’re still getting the particulars and hopefully we’ll have some finality in terms of knowing what we can and cannot do with these guys. Maybe some are going to be out for an extended period of time, not sure if anyone needs to go on IR yet, hopefully not. But it presents a whole host of issues from a roster mechanic standpoint. But it’s not like we haven’t been here before. We lost three running backs in a game before, we’ve been decimated this year with three corners going into the cutdown, so it’s not like it’s uncharted territory and that’s where I lean on a great scouting staff that I have and I trust those guys and I trust these coaches to play no matter who we bring [in], whether it be Rashaan Melvin or Darryl Morris or whoever we’re going to bring in this week. So I have full confidence in this team and we’re going to keep trudging along and trying to get a win and trying to shore up that little bit of football that we just seem to not be able to get from point a to point b in and that’s causing us some real grief.”
- A little later in the interview (so this is out of order but relevant to the previous topic), someone asked Grigson about the process of replacing injured guys and whether he has a plan. “Of course,” he said. Grigson explained that he has scouts with him at the games and that he will have them get on the phone with agents at different points during the game to talk with those agents. He said they’ve done that since he’s been there, as they are very proactive and stay on the offensive in that regard. He said that they’ll have guys in for a visit but that they can’t say for sure whether they’ll sign the guy because they don’t know what the actual injury is as they await the MRI results, but he wants to have as many fallback plans as possible. That’s something that Grigson thinks the Colts do a good job of, as he said that they’ve always had Rashaan Melvins since 2012 that the Colts think can play winning football for them that no one else wants, which is something they take pride in.
- One other note regarding injuries: at the very end of the interview, as Grigson was leaving, Lamey said, “hopefully that injury report is better than we think,” to which Grigson responded, “yeah, me too.” Hmm...
- In non-injury news, Grigson was asked about the number of young players they’re counting on, and he said that they have a blend of players - old, young, and some in the middle, but a lot of young. He noted that the young guys typically make more mistakes than the veterans but that the veterans can’t make what Chuck Pagano calls SINs - self-inflicted negatives. Grigson said that they have to be able to count on those veteran guys to not make those kind of mistakes, because then it could snowball, so they’ve cleaned that up and have to stay the course and hopefully right the ship, because he noted that there’s still a lot of football left to be played. He also pointed out that the Colts have been in every game and have been able to play with anyone, and that while they have had situations where it’s been handed to them, as a whole they’ve played with anyone. They just need to find a way to finish.
- Grigson took a question about why running backs like Jordan Howard and Lamar Miller do so well against Indy, and he began by saying that run defense is “extremely important to us.” He thought the Colts were better in that area as the game started out, but noted that those guys are in the NFL for a reason. He said that Miller “had a heck of a game, he’s a hell of a back, and they went out and paid what they did for him because of that.” He said that it’s a work in progress, and that for three quarters they were doing a lot of good things.
- As for Frank Gore’s 100-yard day, Grigson mentioned that Gore doesn’t want to hear congratulations for 106 yards, he just wants to win like they all do. Grigson did say that sometimes a team can have less positives than the Colts did yet still get a win, but that’s just how this game is. The Colts need to find a way to win and finish.
- Grigson noted that it was all out in front of them yesterday regarding the division, but now the Colts need to dig themselves out of a hole. He knows there are a lot of games left to be played and that the Colts can play with anyone they’ll face, and that they’ve always bounced back since Grigson and Pagano have been here. Now they’re going to have to do it again. He noted that they’ve dealt with adversity very well, and he expects them to do the same this time.
- What’s the biggest issue for the Colts right now? Grigson said it’s easy and is staring everyone in the face: “it’s just not playing a full 60 minutes.” He said that someone even told him at halftime how good the Colts were doing and were lauding the performance, but all Grigson could think about was how it needed to be a full 60 minutes. He pointed out that the Colts have been on the other side of what happened [a comeback like that] and that Pagano believes in this team, and he does too. He brought up a Jim Irsay saying in that it’s a game of inches, but those inches can turn into miles. Something as simple as tackling or catching or not jumping offsides. Grigson said you can get into extraneous things like scheme, but it comes down to fundamentals. He says that has gotten them a lot this year, and that if they tackled better on Sunday they would have been in a much better position to win the game.
- Asked whether the offense changed in the fourth quarter, Grigson said that they just didn’t finish, didn’t protect as well in the fourth quarter, and didn’t execute on either side of the ball. He said that it’s a lot simpler than a change in the offense.
- He said that coaches have always talked about the momentum swings in a game, and the Colts saw it happen on Sunday and needed to stop it. Grigson said that the Colts always say that somebody needs to make a play, and they didn’t. But he said that they need to stay positive, that Pagano will help get it behind them in his team meeting, and that it doesn’t do them any good to carry this loss down to Tennessee and that they need to stay on task with their next opponent.
- Asked whether the lack of physicality in training camp and preseason contributes to lack of fundamentals, Grigson said that any coach in the league will tell you that it contributes, but that at the end of the day he thinks it’s an excuse. He said that these guys know how to tackle, how to pursue, and things like that. It just comes down to fundamentals, and it’s up to the guys on the field to follow through with what Pagano and the coaches are preaching. They have no choice but to be better at it.
- Lastly, Grigson said that the chance was there last week and the week before, and that with ten games left - a ton of football left - they have to take advantage of this time. He said that guys need to remember what it takes to win, have to finish, and have to execute. He said that the guys have to own the things that are said to them on a daily basis so that they can start getting more games in the win column.