Looking Toward the Offseason
Yesterday, Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson fielded a question about in which specific areas the team needs to improve this offseason. In no less than 357 words (which really isn’t that much), he told everyone that it’s not time to evaluate and discuss team needs yet. It’s time for things like decompressing, not resting on laurels, and for iron sharpening iron.
Grigson said he and the coaches to step away first and then get back together to break things down. “It’s hard to say right now definitively that needs to be fixed, that needs to be fixed,” he said, “even though we have the full body of work at our disposal from all the film we’ve watched, because there’s still emotion involved. So I think you need to step away. We need to have discussions.” Fair enough.
On the matter of building the roster for next season, Grigson said they want championship level players, and that it isn’t easy. “It’s not like you can just go to your local swap meet or go to Target,” he said, “and just take your cart and grab whatever and say, ‘I need this, this and this’ and just go grab it.”
I have never been to my local swap meet, and I rarely shop at Target, but I can see how they don’t resemble the NFL offseason. First of all, Target never has any offensive linemen available; tight ends, maybe, but never o-linemen. Silliness aside, Grigson is making a solid point about being careful with offseason decisions, and, given many fans’ feelings about the 2013 draft and free agency signings, that should sound at least a little refreshing.
He added that, “Everything has to kind of line up sometimes to get the right pieces. But that’s what you have the draft for. That’s what you have free agency for. That’s what you have the scouts scouring regional combines for and finding the Josh McNary’s and all those types of things. We need to look under every rock, which we always will, and we need to continue to churn this roster and to create the greatest air of competition.”
Grigson also was asked about the how many pieces he felt are already in place along the offensive line, which players (at any position) are a priority to re-sign, and whether Vontae Davis was one of those priorities.
Once again, Grigson had no desire to go into details, but here is his unabridged answer on Davis: “Like I said, any corner, any cover corner is going to be high on the pecking order, especially in a scheme like ours. Vontae’s a heck of a player. Again, consistency’s the key.
“Vontae can be as good as he wants to be and you saw in some of those games this year where he just completely erased the receiver. And they were top-tier receivers in this league that it was like they didn’t even play. So he does that every game and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in the Pro Bowl every year. And he knows that.
“But we really like Vontae and like I said, once we go through this process and get to that point where we make those calls and do those things, hopefully it all works out how we want and we’re better because of it.” It sounds like he’s going to try to re-sign him…or he isn’t…or he is.
What about Pep and Clyde?
Some people have speculated that because of their prior working relationship, that new Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell might be interested in adding Colts Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen to his staff. It’s just speculation at this point, reasonable though it may be.
On the other hand, Vanderbilt University had been reported to have shown interest in Offensive Coordinator and lightning rod for both praise and criticism, Pep Hamilton. According to Grigson, they’re the only ones who have contacted the Colts about interviewing anyone on the staff thus far.
Hamilton reportedly turned down the job, and Stanford Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason will become the new Vanderbilt coach instead:
#vandy offered Pep Hamilton its HC job & had a private plane set to get him & his family this am but he passed to stay Colts OC, per sources
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 17, 2014
Will we get square-peg-in-round-hole-power-run Pep or offensive-adaptation-super-genius Pep? My money (or my hope) is on the latter. Hamilton wanted to run the ball, which would’ve been a nice compliment to an elite quarterback. It just never quite worked out, and he eventually adapted the offense to its strengths, with tremendous success. There can be little turning back from something like that (right?).
Grigson on why Richardson wasn’t able to find a rhythm this season: “To be honest, I think it comes down to confidence. We’ve been over it a thousand times. This is a bottom-line business, a league where you are judged are on your last carry. I thought he showed some progress this year. I thought that from a play speed standpoint, as the year progressed, just in practice, he was making more decisive cuts. It’s all about comfort level and confidence. There’s many examples of backs that came into this league with so much promise that took a full year and had the low average per carry and things like that. We have patience. He’s not going anywhere. We have him for the long haul. We don’t win 12 games this year if Trent Richardson isn’t here. That’s just a fact. We had a guy get hurt, our starter get hurt and the mindset here is we are not going to just go reach for a guy. We want to go out and get the best available guy, not just the best guy, we are going to go to the hill to get the best we can. I think Trent fits all the things that we are trying to do here. If it isn’t this year, it’s going to be next year because he’s going to have the offseason. He’s going to be dialed in as a pro. He’s going to have his life in order. Chuck (Pagano) and all of us know that with a year under his belt, you are going to see a different player.”
Grigson on making decisions that don’t hurt his ability to re-sign Andrew Luck and others in the next couple of years: “Of course. You have to be smart about, we’re always forward thinking. We’re always, before we make any type of move, are looking down the line. Because you don’t want to hamstring yourself and you don’t want to lose your franchise. So obviously I have very smart people around me that remind me, including our owner. So we’ll be smart about that and we’ll make sure that we keep our best players here as best we can.”
Few if any answers were given yesterday, but we can say with certainty that Grigson has the support of Jim Irsay, wants to proceed with caution this offseason, and if he has any regrets about the Trent Richardson trade, he isn't going to air them publicly.
The Colts and their front office will be working to duplicate some of the success they had with the roster before the 2012 season and to get everything they can out of the players they added this past year. For now, we'll have to wait and see what their plans are for 2014, and if we know anything about Ryan Grigson, it will be interesting.
All quotes are courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts PR Department.