Colts owner Jim Irsay held a press conference today to announce the firing of general manager Ryan Grigson, and in doing so he made it quite clear: Chuck Pagano will be the Colts’ coach for 2017.
It was a pretty definitive statement from Irsay about his head coach, and Irsay said that the new general manager will come in and evaluate the whole football program and see where they’re at. Irsay said that the new GM will work with him to see where the Colts are at and make a call. The owner said that he hopes Pagano will be their coach for years to come, and he added that, "I really believe [Pagano] will be the best coach he's ever been going into this year."
Irsay’s comments imply one thing very clearly: he thinks Ryan Grigson was clearly the big problem with this franchise. Multiple times throughout Irsay’s press conference he made statements that could be perceived at hinting at the dysfunction in the franchise that we heard about all throughout the 2015 season, and it seems that Irsay thought Grigson was the big problem there. Seeing what players have said this afternoon about the way Grigson treated people, perhaps that’s accurate. But it’s not much of a secret right now: Irsay thinks that Grigson was the big problem with this team.
At the same time, however, I wouldn’t completely believe that Pagano will 100% be back in 2017, because things can always change depending on how the general manager search process goes. Until things are truly set in stone there will be some uncertainty, but right now it sounds like the Colts will bring in a new GM, let him work with Irsay in 2017 on evaluating everything with the franchise, and then making the call on Pagano’s fate after the 2017 season. That’s similar to what the Lions did this past year with Jim Caldwell, for example, and it sounds like that’s Irsay’s preference for his team for this year too.
And while Colts fans surely won’t be happy about the fact that Irsay remained committed to Pagano today, it’s strikingly clear that the owner thinks Ryan Grigson was clearly the big problem with the Colts.
Oh, and what about Pagano and Grigson being tied at the hip? Irsay provided an answer: “I untied them.”