The Indianapolis Colts are preparing for the 2016 season as they’re practicing at Anderson University for training camp, and on the field each day roams head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson.
That’s something you wouldn’t have believed in December had I told you it would happen, but stunningly owner Jim Irsay made the move to bring both of them back. They’ve been seen talking with each other on the field and interacting, and the two of them are tasked with turning around the Colts’ fortunes after a rough 8-8 season a year ago.
The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan was at Colts camp on Thursday and spoke with Grigson and Pagano (separately) about the fact that they’re both back - even though many expected change to happen. “Man, I have a whole new perspective,” Grigson said. “And I’m just really glad to be here. With Chuck.”
Kaplan wrote about how Grigson and Pagano sat down with Irsay on that fateful January day to work it out - “That was a long, long day,” Pagano said. “And there was some great dialogue. We sat together on the table and set the record straight.” Kaplan wrote about how Pagano wanted Grigson to be involved in the hiring process for the assistant coaches this offseason. And Kaplan wrote about the reported tension between the two men - both seemed to acknowledge that it was there, though they both made sure to clarify that it wasn’t as bad as some reports suggested.
“As an owner, why would you want a coach and a GM to agree on every single thing?” Grigson said. “To me, the best decisions are made sometimes when you have some deep thoughts and you have some debate. It’s a healthy argument—you do it in a respectful way with the right delivery and some tact.”
Both Grigson and Pagano denied that it ever got to the level it was reported - Pagano said it was “blown out of proportion” and Grigson said that there were some “misconceptions” - but it’s clear that something wasn’t right between them, and where there’s smoke there’s usually fire.
Based on their comments in the intereview, both Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano sound like people with a new perspective after being given a second chance. Grigson said that it’s not uncommon for GMs to be fired, even good GMs, and that Irsay could have decided to blow everything up. Pagano didn’t know when Irsay made his final decision, but he praised him for keeping the continuity. Neither guy sounded like they were certain of having another season with the Colts, so now that they’re back they’re looking to take advantage of the opportunity.
The failures of both Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano have been well-documented. The questions about the two have been as well. In extending them both through the 2019 season, Jim Irsay seemed to send a message: they either figure it out together, or they’re gone - together. They’re tied at the hip, which hopefully will provide some incentive to be able to work it out. They don’t have to be best buddies, but they have to be able to get along enough to run a football team. Based on what they’ve said and done so far, it appears to be going well (for now). If they can keep it that way, that would be a good sign for the Colts.