The Indianapolis Colts didn’t play yesterday but actually played last Thursday on Thanksgiving night, but the weekly Colts Roundtable show on 1070 the Fan still aired on Monday evening like normal.
As always, general manager Ryan Grigson took some questions from host Bob Lamey and from fans, and since we don’t always get to hear from Grigson (like we do with Chuck Pagano), we’ll once again provide a recap of what the GM had to say. So what follows is a summary of what Grigson had to say tonight about the Colts:
- He started off talking about Thanksgiving with Bob Lamey, saying that he ate enough and that’s why he hit the weight room today as he’s got to get back into the swing of things, but that’s what it’s about. He got to see loved ones, and his 93-year old grandmother made the trip down and Grigson said it was great to see her, as she’s the greatest example of a person he’s been around in his life: she’s tough, does it right, doesn’t expect a pat on the back, and means the world. He said it was great to be around his family all of them at one time, as his kids are always going in different directions. Grigson said that he has so much to be thankful for that and that God has blessed him. Lamey followed up by jokingly asking if Grigson’s grandmother could suit up and play for the Colts with all the injuries, and Grigson joked that she’s not up for it physically but she’s tough enough to play.
- As for Andrew Luck and whether he could have played on Sunday, Grigson said that you never know with these things and that every time he thinks he’s got it figured out he doesn’t. There’s a lot that goes into the concussion protocol, with doctors, an independent neurologist, and a lot of hoops you have to jump through, and rightly so since you’re dealing with the brain. Grigson said that Luck will follow the protocol to the nth degree and said he’s on the right track.
- Asked whether the Colts can still make the playoffs, Grigson said that “the margin for error is obviously shrinking” but that the Colts are still in the hunt. He mentioned to look at the league and the way it’s set up is “beyond parity” as there are so many teams that still have a chance. So the Colts will take it one week at a time and focus on the Jets, who took the Patriots to the wire yesterday and are a good football team and a really serious defense that the Colts will have to face. He said that it’s about the next opponent, which parallels what Chuck Pagano says: 60 minutes, don’t judge. So Grigson said they have to keep their heads down and noses to the grindstone and hopefully they’ve done enough in the end, accumulated wins, stayed on the right track, and get in. He said they can’t think about the past but have to put their best foot forward for the future.
- Lamey asked a follow-up question about what makes the Jets so tough on defense, and Grigson said that they’re big up front and get pressure. He said that for years that front has been one of the best in the NFL, and he brought up what Pagano mentioned in that they have a lot of first round draft picks. He said that they have young linebackers who can fly and David Harris is playing really well. Grigson said that Harris is a guy they really liked with the Philadelphia Eagles back in the same year as Patrick Willis, as they were going round and round about those two guys. He said that one was a thumper they really needed in their defense, but he remembers going into Ole Miss and Willis had an ankle wrapped like a mummy, a huge thing on his elbow, and so many things wrong with him yet he still had 17 tackles against LSU and was making plays at the goal line and sideline to sideline, but so was David Harris so it was a tough decision to make. Grigson said that Harris is one of the reasons the Jets defense has always been intact for so many years through different regimes.
- A caller asked a two-part question about the protection of Andrew Luck (asking why they would build a $100 million house and not have an alarm system so it could be robbed, asking “how could you do this to Andrew Luck?”) and about why the team single-covered one of the best wide receivers in the game in Antonio Brown and why they didn’t make someone else beat them. On the first part, Grigson said that they’re seeing improvement on the offensive line every week. There are young guys up there and they’re going in the right direction, and Grigson pointed out that they addressed it in a big way in the draft with four offensive linemen. He said that continuity hasn’t been great because they’ve had to deal with injuries like a lot of teams in the NFL, but they’re going in the right direction. As for the second part of the question about Brown, Grigson said that, “Antonio Brown is the best there is in the NFL.” The Colts put their best corner on him (Vontae Davis) but they didn’t do a good enough job. Davis went out, and it is what it is. Grigson said that Brown was not containable. He wishes they could have done a better job but Brown got the best of them that day, and elite players have a way of doing that sometimes. So he said the Colts would like to have that opportunity back because they didn’t get it done.
- Regarding the running game, Grigson said that those guys are all here because the Colts think that they have unique skillsets and the ability to help the team. He said that Frank Gore is the most consistent guy and he plays a lot because he helps on third down in pass protection. Robert Turbin in the spot duty he’s been asked to play in has produced in everything they’ve asked him to do, whether that’s lead blocking, catching the ball out of the backfield, or catching a pitch. Grigson said that Turbin’s got juice and he’s got size, and he’s not afraid to do the heavy lifting and will put his face on guys and get a lot of tough yardage in-between the tackles when they know the ball is coming to him. Grigson said he likes the group, and Jordan Todman’s got wheels as we saw in the Green Bay game. He said that last year when Todman was on the Steelers you really saw him shine, and Grigson saw him at UConn too. For a smaller stature guy he can run, and Grigson said that it’s not just a fast track guy playing football but a football guy who’s a low 4.4. He likes this group, and there’s only so many balls to go around so Rob Chudzinski is charged with trying to implement all the talent the best he can, and Grigson said they’ll see more of those guys because they’ve showed up.
- Asked about Trent Cole possibly coming back, Grigson said that Cole is the player who has been designated to return to practice, and the Colts will see how he responds physically over the time frame, which is three weeks. They’re being prudent and making sure that he’s trending in the right direction and can be effective and play at a high level physically.
- Someone else asked Grigson about the running position, it’s importance, and whether the Colts will target it in the upcoming draft, and Grigson said that it’s premature to formulate a plan (regarding the draft) before the season is even over, as they’re still looking at the pool of players emerging from the college ranks. There will be players who will declare and there will be an even bigger pool, and some positions that look weak now may even be top positions in the draft, so they’ll see how it goes. Again, Grigson said he thinks there’s talent in that running back group (with the Colts now), and even Josh Ferguson has got some growing to do but is talented as well. The offseason 90-man roster can have more volume and let those battles play out come training camp.
- Asked whether the Colts can win the division with a 9-7 record, Grigson referred to something that Dan Emerson (the Colts’ Chief Legal Officer) always says in that I left my crystal ball in my jacket at home. Grigson says that it’s one game at a time and they hate not being able to control their own destiny. He’s been a part of teams praying to God another team would go in and win, and sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t which is why you don’t like not controlling your own destiny, but that’s where the Colts are. Grigson said that he really thinks that Pagano is always going to make sure that this team doesn’t think ahead, because they’re the last team that should be doing that. Bob Lamey asked a follow-up question of whether the Colts, if they go 5-0 to finish the year, would then control their own destiny, and Grigson said he really hasn’t looked at it and doesn’t get too far ahead, as they’re regimented in Indianapolis and have their way of doing things and they look at the next opponent, which is the way the culture is.
- Regarding Adam Vinatieri now having missed two of his last three kicks, Grigson said that the reason is because Vinatieri is human. He said that if anybody didn’t know that, he’s here to tell you that Vinatieri is actually a mortal human being. He’s going to make a mistake. Grigson said it’s special when someone makes 44 in a row, and he knows this will motivate Vinatieri because that’s the type of person he is. Grigson said that Vinatieri is one of those handful of guys that you have as a GM - and he said Pagano would vouch for it - that you don’t worry about. You don’t worry about Adam Vinatieri.
- The last question was a follow-up about Vinatieri as Lamey and Grigson talked about how special it was that Vinatieri’s brother Beau, a member of the United States Armed Forces, was in town for the game and held the flag with Adam before the game. “That was great,” Grigson said. He said that he was walking off the field with Jim Irsay and saw all these little kids in number 4 jerseys and then it dawned on him. “That was neat. That was really, really neat.” Grigson said that the people you come across in life, a lot of times you look to their family and it’s tied to how they were raised in their family, and there you go. He said that Adam is a first-ballot Hall of Fame kicker, yet he’d say without hesitation that what his brother does is better than what he does. Grigson said it was great seeing Beau recognized like that and it’s inspiring.