Every Monday, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson appears on 1070 the Fan’s Colts Roundtable show to take questions from host Bob Lamey and fans regarding the team.
With the Colts on a short week, the show Monday night actually aired during practice, meaning that the interviews with Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano were taped beforehand (which also conveniently meant they didn’t have to discuss Andrew Luck’s health, since news of his injury wasn’t public yet).
And with the Luck injury news breaking last evening I got caught up with that and so this is being posted this morning. Sorry for the delay, but here’s a recap of what the GM had to say Monday:
- Grigson started off by agreeing with Bob Lamey that fans got their money’s worth on Sunday and said “it was a great day to be a Colts fan.” Grigson mentioned the 2006 team and how even those players say it wasn’t even their best team, but they came together and it emphasises the importance of the team and the realization that you have to be one. He said that it’s a great story and that Jim Irsay has talked about that team so many times. Grigson said that Chuck Pagano said all week that the best way to honor that team was to play Colts football and win the game - and they came out on fire and did win the game, which was eleven in a row against the Titans. He said that it was a hard-fought game and a real good day to be a Colt.
- Grigson also mentioned that Gary Brackett spoke to the team and did a great job, as there are so many parallels to draw. Grigson mentioned all the odds Brackett faced to do what he did, and that the last thing he talked about is that the team that goes the longest the hardest is usually the team that wins in this league. Despite the lulls and the ebbs and flows, Grigson said they end up winning because they went the longest the hardest. It actually is an old Tom Moore quote and Grigson said Brackett imitated Moore, who Grigson was with as a player with the Lions when Moore was offensive coordinator. Grigson said that what Brackett did was a great thing in giving this team an extra shot in the rear.
- Asked about the ability of Clayton Geathers to play both linebacker and safety and whether that changes who the Colts target in free agency or the draft, Grigson began by praising the way Geathers has played quietly, naming his great play on 4th and 1 and how he has gotten better in coverage, saying that he’s doing so many great things for the Colts. Grigson said that there are so many stories about guys who are negative, but Geathers is a guy that’s proving his worth and doing a great job. The fact that he has versatility is something the Colts look for in all of their draft picks and whoever they bring in, but they’ll see how the rest of the year plays out as they’re still gathering info on the pool of players in the draft and free agency. But Grigson said that Geathers brings a lot of things to the table and that there are a lot of WILL linebackers in the history of this game that have safety backgrounds, so there’s something to be said for that but they’ll see how things play out.
- Grigson was also asked about why they slowed down in the second half, and he said that they wish they knew the answer to all those things. He mentioned an old college coach used to say that in a football game there’s ebbs and flows. If you’re trending toward a blowout and playing great but then make a key error like a penalty or drop or something, that could shift the momentum. He said that those who have been watching games a long time know that there truly are ebbs and flows and that it’s very hard to put together a complete four quarters to where it’s perfect, but the Colts still accomplished their goal of winning. He said that there is something to be said that there really are ebbs and flows in a football game.
- Asked about most games being close in the NFL this year, Grigson said that he thinks it’s great for the fans, but not for his blood pressure or Chuck Pagano’s blood pressure or Bob Lamey’s blood pressure, but that again it was a division opponent that was playing really good football, especially offensively. Grigson said that to hold them to what they did in the second half speaks a lot to how their defense is coming. Do they need to get better? “Heck yes,” Grigson said, and he doesn’t think they’re near their potential on the other side of the ball.
- Asked who the defensive MVP is for the Colts so far this year, Grigson said that he’s not ready to say something like that. But he did say that you have to draw from the handful of players who have been healthy first and that consistency is key. He said that kind of talk is for fans and voters, but he thinks their playmakers need to make plays, do it consistently, and be available. He said they keep looking for guys that are going to be available and have a mindset.
- Grigson said that without a doubt there are plays being made by everyone. He said the veterans do a good job of making sure the young players have and maintain that look in their eye, and when they start slipping or wandering or things like that, or getting tiered, that’s when a big play by the other team is going to happen. So it’s about self-discipline and fight, and Gary Brackett said to make sure every play counts. Grigson mentioned that it was coming from a guy who was a walk on, as self-made players know how to approach this game and don’t take anything for granted, while the most talented guys need to take that approach because they haven’t had to work that hard. But if you make that habitual to focus like that, you’re going to be awake and not asleep at the wheel doing your job.
- Asked whether Robert Mathis is finally coming around, Grigson said that Mathis has made some impactful plays this year, a lot of them coming recently. He said that Mathis is finally say and will say that he’s finally the best physically. Grigson said that they’re doing their best to put him in position based on his age and his health to make plays, and that they want to put him in and give him the right platform to do his best, as that’s what they’re trying to do and they’re finding that sweet spot. Grigson also brought up that Mathis is one of those guys who, when you work as hard as he does and play as hard as he does, guys that hustle good things happen to. He mentioned Mathis scooping and scoring and said that’s not going to happen to a slug or someone who takes plays off, as they’re not going to be there for that opportunity. But that’s what Mathis does, and he’s a big play magnet sometimes.
- Asked whether games from this point on are still treated like playoff games, Grigson said they treat every game the same and that’s what Pagano really emphasises. The reality is that the Colts don’t control their own destiny, and they’ve got no time to not have their nose to the grindstone. Pagano talks about four quarters, don’t judge, don’t look at the scoreboard, and Grigson said that’s how the Colts found success in 2012 when everyone left them for dead from the get go. They need to have that approach and hopefully when they look up they’re in the tournament.
- Grigson was asked about Rashaan Melvin’s improvement, and the GM said that he’s getting more consistent each week. Melvin is obviously a fifth year player so he’s not a young, young player in his first or second year, but a lot of times in this league it’s about timing. Melvin never felt he had a fair shake because he’s been injured or hasn’t been on the right team and had this or that, and just when he started to play well then this would happen or that would happen. Grigson also said that it kind of shows you with Melvin how the process, college and pro, is intermingled with the Colts. He was on a top 30 visit for the Colts and was someone prior to the draft who the Colts brought in on a visit and wanted to draft late, but they wound up not doing so and Melvin signed as a college free agent to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Grigson says that he ribbed Melvin about that when the corner first got here about how he should have come to Indy. Grigson said that Melvin has the size, has the speed, has the mindset, and has the grit. When you look at someone like him, if you really knew his background then you’ll know why he plays the way he does and why he plays as tough as he is. He’s Chicago tough and is a guy that’s been through a lot and did without a lot growing up, and that’s why he plays the way he does. Grigson said that here’s a guy they found when they were in dire need of corners and the problem was that it was after the final cutdown, but the Colts had a decent position in the waiver process because of their 8-8 record as opposed to in years past with better records. Melvin was wearing number five late in Miami, as he was a late add to camp and it means all the good corner numbers are gone, but he was a guy you saw on special teams, his 4.4 [40 yard dash] number showed up, the high effort and competitiveness showed up, and he didn’t get a ton of reps at corner but showed the right urgency to be a guy. Grigson said that Melvin is making the most of his opportunity, because they don’t last long in this league.
- Asked whether the Colts are peaking at the right time as they’re at .500 for the first time, Grigson said that he can’t say that, as he feels like they’re in such a game by game mode right now that it’s hard to tell. There’s so much potential still that’s unlocked in all three phases and young players who haven’t quite hit their stride yet and are still gaining awareness and getting better, so he couldn’t say that but he will say this: you’d rather start peaking now than in the first week of the season.
- Asked about playing on Thanksgiving and the Colts’ history of Thursday night success possibly factoring in, Grigson said that they need every edge they can get versus their opponent. They have to match that team’s physicality. He said that this team [the Steelers] have taken them to the woodshed when they’ve played the last few times, but here’s a chance at home to match that physicality and show they’re not going to be pushed around at Lucas Oil. It’s a great opportunity as they’ve played with the best teams in the NFL and played physical football for 60 minutes and have shown they can do that, and they have to do that to give themselves a chance on Thanksgiving night in their own backyard at home. The opportunity is there again like last week and like in Lambeau, as it’s no different and treat it, like Pagano says, as if every week was like the last game.
- Regarding night games, Grigson said that he likes the night games. He grew up in Indiana and loved Friday night football with the lights. He has to be up extremely early every morning but is not a morning person, as he has most of his energy at night - though as you get older that starts waning - but there’s something about playing at night, the energy, and the crowd seems to be louder and more in it. In his personal opinion, he likes night games.
- And lastly, Grigson was asked about health and whether they could get some guys like Patrick Robinson back [keep in mind this was taped before practice on Monday], and he said that he hoped so. They were field testing guys and they were trending in the right direction, and Grigson said that they need them. It’s all hands on deck, as the Steelers running back, quarterback, and wide receiver is as good as there is in the NFL if not the best. They have a lot of talent and good players, and it’s going to be a really tough test but the Colts have to try to rise to the occasion and, like they said, whoever goes the longest the hardest.