Brett Mock lists some of the key quotes and topics from Tuesday’s 4:00 PM press conference announcing the release of Head Coach Jim Caldwell.
After days of rumors suggesting that Head Coach Jim Caldwell was going to retain his post with the Indianapolis Colts, Owner Jim Irsay and new General Manager Ryan Grigson held a press conference announcing the opposite. Below are some of the key comments made by each man and some of the topics covered regarding the direction Irsay and Grigson intend to take the franchise.
Regarding Caldwell -
Irsay: Want to thank Jim Caldwell and acknowledge all of the outstanding things he has done for our franchise. Took us to a Super Bowl. Getting us to the playoffs and winning the division the year after that.
A difficult decision. Based on the feeling that this is the direction the franchise needed to go. Ryan and I had a chance to evaluate the situation thoroughly when he was hired.
Just like in 1998 when I decided to change general managers and change head coaching to go into a new direction. Again, acknowledging Jim Caldwell’s accomplishments. He and I met with Ryan and it was difficult because of my affection for him and knowing what a great man he is. The team played hard last year until the end.
Grigson: First, we all acknowledge and appreciate what Jim Caldwell has done for this franchise and this city. Had a seven hour talk and got to know eachother and you could see why people say the things they do and respect him the way they do. He is a great man.
Me and Mr. Irsay talked and this is change, and change isn’t always the easiest transition to make.
Question: What did it boil down to?
Grigson: Me and Mr. Irsay agreed this is what was best for the future of this franchise. It’s about instincts. If we strike a chord together in certain areas we move off of those things, those instincts.
Grigson: Jim Caldwell was notified today about the decision.
Question: What was Coach Caldwell’s reaction?
Grigson: I have too much respect for him to talk about that situation. I can tell you he is a class act, period.
Regarding the Colts plans for a new head coach –
Irsay: Excited about the coach. A search that will start immediately. I really think we’re going to get a great head coach to lead us going forward. It’s tough to change. We’ve had such excellence and greatness over such a long period of time here but it is not an overnight process.
Grigson: I’m excited about the future. I’m with the right ownership and franchise. We’re going to chip away at this thing and every day get better with a common vision and goal to be great again.
We don’t want to do anything rash in any regard with this. We are going to do what we think is right, put our minds together and set this franchise in the right direction.
Question: How are you going to make decisions, unilaterally or together [with Irsay]?
Grigson: Everything is going to be done as a team.
Question: What are we looking for in this new direction?
Question: Looking for defense or offense?
Grigson: We are looking for the best man. The man who is going to take us in the direction we’re wanting to go.
Grigson: We talked to Steve Spagnuolo and discussed a potential defensive coordinator position.
Question: Looking for someone with head coaching experience in the league?
Grigson: There are 600 some head coaches in the NFL. We’ll identify the best person, we promise you. We’re confident we’re going to get this thing going in the right direction.
Question: Do you have a short list of guys?
Grigson: Of course, anyone worth their salt in this business should be able to identify players who play well, and those who coach well. I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t know in the back of my mind some guys who are darn good football coaches and darn good teachers.
Question: Share a few with us?
Grigson: There will be a time and a place for that.
Question: Ryan, do you have a timeline? Sooner rather than later?
Grigson: I think you know Mr. Irsay. He is not going to be hurried or pressured in a decision that is so important and precious to him. We’re going to bring people in and find the right guy.
Grigson: I don’t mean to be vague but we’re going to find the best guy possible. It’s going to be me and Jim looking at that man eyeball to eyeball and figuring out if this is the man to lead us in the future of this franchise.
Question: Will you wait on moving on Spagnuolo or go ahead and bring him in before you bring in a head coach?
Grigson: We’re going to identify who we’re looking for and get them in.
On how Grigson and Irsay work together to reach decisions -
Grigson: Jim [Irsay] and I talk football in a very productive way. We are never a divided house. I cut him off and he cuts me off, we discuss football in a very impassioned way.
Regarding Peyton Manning –
Question: Had a chance to talk with Peyton?
Grigson: I’ve reached out to him. I’ve missed his call, we’ve not been able to hook up yet.
Question: Can anyone read into this that you have moved on from Peyton Manning?
Grigson: No. I have not even had a chance to meet with him yet. We’re taking this thing piece by piece, be calculated, do this the right way.
Regarding player reactions to the news -
Question: We knew before the players knew?
Irsay: There is no way you can run down every player and let them know that you have reached a decision. Never a possibility to notify every player and every person in the building that you’ve reached a decision before you act on it.
Regarding Andrew Luck -
Question: Have you reached the conclusion to bring in Andrew Luck?
Irsay: No. You don’t reach a decision before you have to on this kind of thing. No need for it to be reached January 17.
Question: You continue to refer to 98 and if there is a parallel, there was a new GM, coach, and franchise quarterback. Same idea now?
Irsay: Again, you’re going to bring in everyone that you think can help you win.
Regarding the Colts’ intentions moving forward -
Irsay: This is a rebuilding process. Ryan has come in because there is significant needs in a lot of areas of the roster. We want to get there as fast as we can but we want to build it right. Having sustained success for greatness is what we’re about.
This is obviously a very transitional time. We’re excited. It’s hard when you say goodbyes to people but we’re really excited about the direction we’re going in.
Question: Can the renewal happen as early as next season?
Irsay: Ryan and whoever the new head coach will be, I’m sure they’ll be focused on winning immediately. You never limit your expectations. From the macro expectations of an owner you understand there’s a rebuilding process there.
There are going to be players and coaches here already that will help you moving forward. We want to be more balanced. Defensively we want to be balanced, really being excellent on defense and more consistent. I don’t think the head coach has be offensive or defensive.
Question: How much of a role did fans input impact the decision?
Irsay: I’ve been in this business a long time. It’s not about a popularity contest. What an owner knows and a general manager knows, there’s a lot of complexities in this big time decision. You love when what happens lines up with the fans but at the same time you can’t make decisions based on that.
They pay us to make decisions, they pay us to be right.
They’re always going to express opinions and I hear them all.
If we’re down in the ditch in another three years it’s not going to matter what kind of applause you got [making a decision].
The biggest sidenote from the press conference is that Grigson seemed noticeably irritated with some of the questions he was receiving. The press members who were in attendance did attempt to ask the same question two or three different ways on a number of occasions, which it appeared Grigson didn’t have a great deal of patience for.
He did have a great deal of intensity in his answers and seemed like a guy who was interested in getting a lot of things done in a short period of time — while maintaining that things will be done the right way. He also appears to fit descriptions prior to joining the Colts as an intense leader who does not hesitate to give his opinions and let people know how he feels about things.