When it comes to Colts coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson, it's safe to say that many outside of the organization have doubts. Owner Jim Irsay made a loud statement of support for them by giving both men extensions this offseason, however, so it seems that Pagano and Grigson will be the ones leading the Colts for the foreseeable future.
That doesn't mean the doubts have gone away, though. Earlier this offseason, Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty ranked the NFL's coaches and had Chuck Pagano 21st out of 26 returning head coaches. Daugherty recently ranked the league's general managers and, as it turns out, Ryan Grigson fared even worse than Pagano did.
Daugherty ranked Grigson 25th on his list, one that ranked just 28 GMs due to four teams hiring new ones (and the new hires don't factor into the ranking this year).
Ryan Grigson is destined to end up the story of one player. The question is whether it will be Andrew Luck or Trent Richardson. Grigson began his career with the safest pick since Peyton Manning. Ever since, it's been a long, strange trip. Three straight 11-5 seasons helped Grigson mask missteps like Richardson and Bjoern Werner, but the benefit of the doubt vanished with last year's 8-8 campaign. You could argue it's a miracle the Colts were as good as they were with Luck missing nine games, but an injured and absent Luck exposed Grigson's roster for what it is: A top-heavy collection of players either much older or much worse than their quarterback. Grigson has struggled for impactful draft picks since a rookie class that included Luck, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener, and too often filled out his roster with veterans other teams were glad to get rid of. From T-Rich to Werner to Andre Johnson, he's gotten far too many of his big decisions wrong. Luck got Grigson off to the best possible start, but the finish line is much further away than it should be four years into his golden goose's career.
This seems pretty accurate when considering the national perception of Grigson and the Colts: the perception (and it has a lot of truth to it) is that the Colts aren't an overly talented team but have been carried by Andrew Luck. That doesn't give credit to the 6-3 record the Colts posted without Luck in 2015, which helped show that the Colts do have some talent elsewhere, but it's a perception that does have quite a bit of truth behind it. The Colts, coming off of a complete rebuild following the 2011 season, achieved immediate success largely due to their quarterback, who proved to be able to work behind a bad offensive line and with talent deficiencies all over the depth chart.
Grigson's resume with the Colts is filled with plenty of hits and misses, though some of the misses are much more glaring. There's the trade for Trent Richardson, the drafting of Bjoern Werner, and the signing of LaRon Landry, plus several other questionable moves. On the good side, there's the trade for Vontae Davis, the drafting of T.Y. Hilton, and the signing of Kendall Langford, among others. The analysis of Grigson's time with the Colts isn't black and white, but the bottom line is that he has had a very good quarterback playing for super cheap and hasn't been able to put together a top-tier roster. That's where a lot of the perception with Grigson comes in, as there are legitimate and justified doubts about whether he'll be able to build the Colts into a Super Bowl contender moving forward.
When looking around the NFL, Grigson isn't the worst in the league at his job, but he's also nowhere near the top either. His being ranked 25th on this list doesn't surprise me, nor do I think it's too far from accurate. The reality for Ryan Grigson is simple: he has to prove himself. There are plenty of doubters, and Grigson will now face a tougher challenge of working around a massive contract for Andrew Luck, giving the GM less cap space to work with than he has had in previous years. Regardless of whether you think this ranking is accurate or not, it's clear that Grigson has plenty of pressure to produce and build the Colts into a Super Bowl team.