Colts fans aren’t happy with the team right now. It’s hard to be happy with where they’re at, as they’re just 2-4 and in last place in the AFC South. But while the failures have led Colts fans to continue to call for the firing of general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano, owner Jim Irsay doesn’t share the same sentiments.
In fact, he’s come out with public support of the two this week at the owner’s meetings. Irsay said earlier this week that he still has “full confidence” in Grigson and Pagano and that his decision to retain the two of them was well thought out - meaning that six games isn’t going to change that.
Irsay went another step further in an interview with USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, saying that, “The heap of criticism that has fallen on Ryan Grigson, it is so unjust. No one bothers to see what the accomplishments have been the first five years.”
The accomplishments that Irsay are referring to are certainly worth noting (and people have indeed bothered to look at them): the NFL’s Executive of the Year in 2012, three 11 win seasons and three playoff berths, two division titles, and a 43-27 record in the four-plus seasons since a disastrous 2011 season. In Grigson’s tenure, the Colts have brought in players such as Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Vontae Davis, and others that they can build around. So while the accomplishments are there, so are the downfalls: Grigson has failed to build a competent defense (this year’s defense may be the worst in all his years in Indy).
And Irsay even seemed to acknowledge that reality in the same interview with Bell, saying that, “we’ve got to score in the thirties.” So Irsay is saying that hte offense needs to put up 30+ points per game, which is in essence saying that the defense is nowhere near good enough, yet he thinks the criticism of the guy who’s had five years to build that defense is “so unjust.” Got it.
Maybe it comes down to the fact that Irsay seems to have a more optimistic view of the Colts: “We could be 6-0 right now if the ball bounced our way,” he told Bell this week. He’s certainly right, but this team is much, much closer to 0-6 than they are to 6-0. Their only two win have come via fourth quarter comeback touchdown passes from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton against two teams who are currently a combined 3-10 and both in last place in their divisions. So yeah, there’s always a “what if” element to football, but as long as people like Jim Irsay and Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano keep pointing to how the Colts could have been 6-0 by now instead of how they even more easily could have been 0-6 by now, they’re not going to get at the true issues.
This mess falls on Jim Irsay’s shoulders, as it was his call to extend both Grigson and Pagano this past offseason. And though he seems to acknowledge that the defense is good enough, he thinks the criticism of Grigson is “unjust” and still seems to full support two of the men responsible for that bad defense.