Every Monday night, 1070 the Fan conducts the Colts Roundtable radio show that features interviews with head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson.
We’ve been giving updates on what Grigson says each week (because we hear from Pagano quite a bit during the week), and tonight’s show was a bit different than normal. Because the Colts got back from London early this morning and had a normal work day today, Bob Lamey thought it would be best to tape interviews with both Grigson and Pagano in London following the game instead of doing a live interview on Monday night with fans calling in for questions because he wanted to give them a chance to rest a bit. So the interview was taped shortly after the game on Sunday while still at Wembley Stadium in London, and Grigson was as expressive as he’s been in quite a while during interviews. He carried extra emotion in his voice and you could tell that he was both frustrated with the loss and anxious to try to get to work on fixing things.
So even though Grigson didn’t take quetsions from fans and even though it was a taped interview, I think it’s still worthwhile to hear what he had to say about the team. Below is a recap of what he said, with direct quotes in some places and a summary in others.
- On playing in London, Grigson said, “it was such a great experience being here, people were awesome. The atmosphere was incredible.” He acknowledged that the Colts fell short for a lot of the same reasons that they have been recently: they didn’t execute, made mistakes early, and shot themselves in the foot. Grigson seemed to especially focus on the dropped passes. “Dropped passes, that just can’t happen at this level of play,” he said. “Just can’t have it, drive-killers, things like that, missed tackles and so forth, but the drops, I think, were a major contributor to us being stuck in the mud and stalling on offense.” Grigson also said that he thought the rookies the Colts had to play with fought their tails off and that injuries weren’t an excuse because the teams were even in that category (he pointed out the Jaguars lost Luke Joeckel early on).
- On the comeback nature of the Colts: “That’s really the nature of this team, but we still can’t come out and take so long to get going. We kind of stall and then we finally find our rhythm and it’s not until, usually, it’s in the second half. We’ve got to learn to play better football earlier and to not get penalized on both sides of the ball. Coach [Chuck Pagano] calls them sins, self-inflicted wounds that we have, and those were the things that killed us on both sides of the ball. Late hits, missed tackles - there’s accountability across the board from the very top to the very bottom of this thing, and we’ve got a lot of football left to play this year. Again, we were in every single game to win at the end of the game, so that’s the silver lining in this thing that we know we can compete with anyone, but we just can’t put ourselves in a corner every week, and that’s what we tend to. We put ourselves in a corner to where our backs are to the wall like no other and then kind of we wake up and that’s when we get our smelling salts for some reason. So we’ve got to find a way to combat that, we’ve got to find a way to rally, and come back from this trip and get a win against Chicago.”
- Asked about the slow starts and perhaps using more up-tempo offense, Grigson offered a much simpler suggestion: just execute on the plays. “Again, I look at it real simplistically: you have to catch the ball when it hits you in the hands. And we have to be able to finish those plays. We have to be able to finish tackles. We can’t get roughness calls. We can’t knock guys out of bounds when they’re past the boundaries. But the thing is, a lot of those young guys they’re overdoing it because they’re straining and they’re trying. So those are things that are going to be worked out with some of those guys, you know, hey, they’re young. But we’ve got to step up, especially our vets, and answer the bell. We’ve just got to answer the bell.”
- Grigson was then asked about having to prepare to play the Bears this Sunday despite the trip home, and Grigson didn’t make excuses. He said that it doesn’t matter how much sleep they’ve got or anything like that, the Colts just have to go out and beat the guy across from them. He wasn’t making excuses; he said that the Colts expect to go out to win no matter what.
- On if it’s a long flight home due to the loss (remember, this was recorded before the plane ride back to Indy): “Heck yeah. I mean, it’s not going to be a fun flight home, are you kidding me? We’re going to watch the film and I bet we’re going to find things that are positive, I’m sure we’ll find things that are positive, and this early in the season, with as close as we’ve been these last four games, we’re not on the right side of the win column, that’s for damn sure, but what are you going to do? Are you just going to sit there and say that we can’t do it and we’re just going to cave? No! Heck no! We’re going to look at the tape, we’re going to figure out what we need to figure out from a personnel standpoint. There’s guys that jumped off the tape and jumped off the field today that are finishing, that are straining to win, and we’ve got - like Coach always says - [to] separate the wheat from the chaff.”
- Grigson noted that the Jaguars had their backs against the wall entering the game, so the Colts couldn’t let them build confidence early (but that’s exactly what they did). So as the Colts got behind early, the Jaguars began to gain confidence, which put the Colts even more at a disadvantage. “It’s frustrating, and I think at the end of the day we’ve just got to grow. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to just grow and we’ve got to find a way to overcome these things that we just haven’t been able to overcome.”
- On if some of the young guys have been growing: “Of course! I mean, Clayton Geathers? I see him run down on a special teams tackle and it doesn’t matter what you do with him, he’s going to make a play. Mike Adams is no different. We’ve got to limit the mistakes, and there’s a lot of guys on this team that feel, and our coach feels, that we’ve all got to be accountable, we all have to know what to do, we can’t go out there and bust assignments! You can’t go out there and bust an assignment! You’ve got to know where to be in coverage, you’ve got to know where to be on the field, you’ve got to know when your number is called and you have to go out there and produce in the role that’s been set forth for you to perform in! You’ve got to be able to do it, this is the NFL! It’s a job that your job description is to, your pre-requisite, is to play hard and know what to do, and if you’re not doing that, well that’s not going to help us get where we want to go.”