Coming off of the bye week the Indianapolis Colts didn’t have a game to discuss today, but that didn’t stop general manager Ryan Grigson from taking questions in his usual Monday afternoon slot on 1070 the Fan’s Colts Roundtable slot.
This week’s discussion obviously wasn’t about one game in particular but more about the team overall, and that still provided for some interesting comments. Below is a summary of what Grigson had to say tonight.
- The interview began with Grigson talking about how he spent his bye week and whether he was able to truly get away from football, which he said he did “a little bit,” especially on Sunday. He said that it was nice to enjoy some time with family, while he also was able to catch up on some college games and said there are lot of good and interesting players this year in the draft and wanted to get a better handle on them, which normally happens in the second half of the season. He commented that it’s interesting that on Friday night on the bye his older kids didn’t want to hang out with him, so his wife had to ask him whether he wanted to hang out with his parents when he was in junior high. Grigson said that he got to spend a lot of time with their two-year old, because the older kids were wanting to shoot hoops or go to a sleepover or go to a friend’s house, so his wife put things in perspective. He said that it was good getting to spend time with his two-year old, though, because he’s a laugh a minute.
- Grigson was asked about the Colts’ upcoming undrafted free agents and who the team might re-sign, and the GM pointed out that the season is only halfway done. So they always have a plan in mind, but that plan doesn’t really come together until the regular season is over, at which point you can look at all the film, re-assess the roster in all phases, look at the financials, and look at the upcoming draft. He said that guys who will become free agents this offseason still have more tape to put out there this season.
- Grigson was asked about Jamie Collins and whether he was a guy the Colts went after, and Grigson said his phone’s always on and that he’s always going to look at any situation or player that makes them better, but then he added that “he was not in the mix.”
- Someone also asked Grigson about addressing needs in free agency versus in the draft, and Grigson said that it comes down to a lot of different factors. When you go the free agent route the player is not homegrown and needs to fit a lot of different needs in both a tangible and intangible way and has to check off a lot of boxes. He said that he’s learned a lot of tough lessons in Indy in free agency and said that the house usually does win in this area. The Colts want to re-sign their own and do their best in that area, and they want to be fiscally responsible and be really streamlined in who they select, as they have to be right on those guys and there’s no margin for error. He said that free agency presents a better opportunity near-term for a team with a ready-made free agent type player instead of a rookie, though he mentioned someone like Denzelle Good as a seventh round pick out of Mars Hill last year who played well as a rookie. With free agency, though, you can watch film of guys playing against NFL teams, making it more of a leap of faith to throw in a rookie in some spots because of the learning curve no matter how good the player is, though it’s different by position.
- Regarding having to play twice in five days, Grigson said that the players just have to be pros and take care of themselves and be smart. He said they’ve been down this road before and it all comes down to mindset. He looked at the game at London and how they were the first team to come back to play after that as a game in the same boat: it comes down to mindset. He said that players need to get ready regardless of how tired they are and rise to the occasion. He also pointed out how in 2013 the Colts went to San Diego for a Monday night game and then beat the Broncos on a short week after that. He said that the Colts tend to do well with their backs to the wall for whatever reason and said that they’re resilient and that Chuck Pagano is wired like that. Really, it all comes down to mindset.
- Asked about the rookies and particularly Joe Haeg, Grigson said that he’s excited about a lot of young players in their first and second years. Of their 16 picks in the past two drafts he said 12 are contributing, seven are starters, and nine have technically started. He’s excited about those guys moving forward and said they’re helping the team win football games, are growing, are learning, and though they’re to make their mistakes the nice thing about those players is that you don’t know what their ceiling is yet still, which is a good thing. He said that Haeg sets the bar high, as does a guy like Ryan Kelly. He said that Haeg’s versatility is not a common thing and that he knows how to play the game, which goes back to his approach and mindset as a walk-on at North Dakota State. He came in weighing 220 pounds and wound up winning some national championships and as a skinny guy built himself into what he is now, and he’s inherently a very smart person. Grigson advised fans to just Google Haeg’s name and some really great articles about his intelligence at North Dakota State and how smart his family thought he was growing up. He said it doesn’t hurt to shrink the learning curve especially along the offensive line, as Haeg has hit the ground running in any spot they’ve put him at.
- As for the secondary and in particular T.J. Green and Rashaan Melvin, Grigson pointed out that it’s Melvin’s fifth year but Green’s only a rookie. He said that Green has exceptional tools and that any concerns about his physicality coming from offense to defense has been dispelled real quick due to the way he throws his body around. Grigson said that once Green gets his sea legs he’s going to be a really good player. As for Melvin, Grigson noted that he started out as a late add in camp for the Dolphins and then the Colts brought him in mid-week in week one off the street and he answered the bell. He said that Melvin has had his moments but that for the most part you couldn’t ask more from him considering where he came from. Grigson said Melvin’s been encouraging, and they’ve had those types of signings in the past too. He’s buying in, the coaches are doing a great job, and Melvin has the traits to be successful at the position. For a fourth corner you really couldn’t ask for any more, Grigson said.
- Grigson was asked about Josh Ferguson and he mentioned that the running back is a young player who’s had his bumps in the road and plays he wishes he had back, but that he’s a rookie and needs to develop and is going to hit some walls, but these things take time. Grigson points to the fact that Ferguson has been contributing in a big way on special teams, as without that block at Lambeau Field maybe the Colts don’t have the catalyst in that big return, as Ferguson opened up a lane. His impact on special teams is encouraging to Grigson, and he said that it’s not a toughness issue and not an athletic issue, it’s an experience issue. He said that Ferguson has such speed and can do a lot in this offense, he just needs to - like anyone else - make the most of his opportunities because they don’t last forever.
- Lastly, Grigson was asked about the health of this team improving and he joked that he doesn’t even like to talk about it. He then went on to add that in this league health is almost a misnomer, as at this point in the season guys are never going to truly be 100%. At the same time, though, Grigson said that it’s nice to hear skill guys and others feeling fresh, and that’s why this time for the bye week is important because it’s at the halfway point of the season. He said that the big injuries are not going to mend overnight but that hopefully guys are healed and they don’t have to think about their injuries anymore.