Nate Dunlevy talks about new Colts GM Ryan Grigson.
In the transcript of Ryan Grigson's press conference, two words jump out over and over:
The two words nicely frame the hire. A day after the Colts announced their new GM, fans have nothing more to latch on to concerning the near future of the team than they did before. The Colts hired a young unkown who will work hard and be listening to the owner of the team.
Grigson has several things working for him that would make him an excellent hire.
- A background in college scouting. The Colts were primarily concerned with getting a guy with experience on the college scouting side, rather than pro-player personnel. They wanted a draft guy and they got one.
- The Eagles dominated the Draft Project in recent years. Grigson didn't have final say in draft issues, but it's hard to argue with the Eagles success. In draft efficiency, they ranked 5th from 2002-2009 and 2nd from 2005-2009 (behind Indianapolis, ironically enough), but they also finished 3rd in total value from 2005-2009. So whatever system the Eagles have been using to evaluate players, it has been paying off. If Irsay wanted to hire a guy from a team that drafts well, he literally couldn't have done better than he did with Grigson.
- He's young. Young should mean open to new ideas and concepts. No one asked Grigson about his football philosophy, but with any luck he embraces new ways of thinking about the game, especially in regards to punting.
- He's from Indiana. That doesn't mean he'll be a good general manager, of course. It does mean that he should carry with him an inherent understanding of the culture of the area. Never underestimate the subtitle value of cultural awareness.
Grigson brings with him a raft of questions, however.
- The one word he didn't say in the transcript: Manning. Can you imagine, a new GM in Indianapolis, and he never once said Peyton Manning's name?
- Grigson laid no clear vision at all for where the Colts are going. That doesn't mean, of course, that he doesn't have one. Yesterday was his chance to stand up declare from day one a course, a path of action to restore the Colts to glory. Instead, he brushed off the hard questions saying, "I just got here". He repeated Jim Irsay's name almost compulsively despite the fact that only one of the questions really centered on Irsay. I'm not saying that Grigson is a puppet. I am saying this is a young guy who knows very clearly who the boss is. Who is really making the calls in Indy?
- He comes from a team with a history of big free agent signings that haven't worked out all that well. He freely admits he doesn't have a lot of experience in cap manipulation. At a time when the Colts are facing serious cap issues, does Grigson have the ability to navigate these waters? The free agency issue won't come up this year. The Colts don't have the cap space to sign anyone note. It could be a huge problem in 2013, however. Fans will love it, but it's not a sound way to build a team.
- What did he learn about game management from watching Andy Reid? Did he learn it's not important? Andy Reid is an awful game manager. One of the worst in football. He makes Caldwell look like Belichick. Or did he learn that the Eagles lost a lot of games because Reid couldn't figure out how to use timeouts?
- Who will be the next coach? We know nothing more about Jim Caldwell's future today than we did yesterday. As much as I believe Caldwell needs to go, if the other option is a retread like Marty Mornhinweg, I'd rather have Caldwell. There are no good high profile coaches out there. The Colts may stick with Caldwell simply because there's a lack of better options out there.
- The most important question of all remains to be answered: is he a good GM? We know he's a good scout. That's an outstanding start. We have literally no idea if this guy can run an NFL team.
The best thing that Grigson has going for him is that the whole city is invested in his success. The fans obviously want a winner, but the media does too. If Grigson struggles in the job, a lot of people are going to have egg on their face. Grigson is a good hire within the confines of what the Colts were looking for. He's not a top tier candidate. He's young and inexperienced in his current position but has a strong resume of talent evaluation. Colts fans couldn't reasonably hope for any more from the new GM.
He's not going to be the voice and face of the franchise the way Bill Polian was. That's Jim Irsay's job now. In the short run, we'll get lots of articles about what a refreshing change Grigson is to the Polians. That will buy Grigson a lot of time in Indy, but eventually the Colts will have to start winning.
Grigson is going to get a lot of rope, and will probably get a free pass on most of the decisions to be made this year, especially if Caldwell stays. It's clear from Irsay's long answer to a simple question of who will be making the final decisions that his voice will be prominent in whatever happens.
Grigson may be part of a new wave of younger GMs who will transform football's antiquated and indefensible obsession with conservative play by building a dynamic team. At worst, he'll do what Jim Irsay tells him to do while helping the Colts draft well. As worst case scenarios go, that one isn't too bad.
Ryan Grigson is Jim Irsay's man. The Third Era of Irsay will be defined by how he grows into the role of GM and just how much of Irsay's man he turns out to be.
I brought this up on the podcast chat, but I feel like Irsay hammering in so hard that "he's gonna make all the final say in decisions" is a way to give the GM some slack.
I don't know if Irsay will really use that "final say" so much, but if/when some unpopular decision needs to be made (whether it be for Caldwell or Manning or something else), the blame will go on Irsay and no Grigson.
I think Irsay did this so the first time GM doesn't get hounded by the media before he even has faced a regular season or a draft. I think Irsay is hammering in on the final power thing to protect his GM, and I honestly can't fault him for that.
Maybe even taking the blame for things that he didn't use the final decision on.
Yesterday, Thursday January 12, 2012, my Colts World came crashing down. It was a simple thing really that caused the collapse... not some major announcemnt or a surprise disclosure.
Instead, it was just an item that appeared in Chap's "Ask the Experts". A reader submitted the question that if Manning is healthy, wouldn't it make sense to reap the bonaza that trading the #1 pick would bring. Finally, Chap was going to hit this out of the park, as I knew in the past that Chap felt like if Manning was healthy, the Colts should go all in with him.
But no... now even Chap has gone over to the darkside. (Or at least accepted the inevitable.) No matter what... the Colts are going to draft Andrew Luck.
With everything out there... I don't know why this was the one that finally dashed all my hopes. Perhaps because it is so blatantly obvious to me on how to best handle the Manning situation, that I can't understand how the "Powers that be" can't see it.
So next season, Peyton will either be retired or playing for another team. Since I can't accept that #18 has played his last down of football, that means the latter. (And even though Irsay may be deluded enough to envision a situation with Manning and Luck co-existing, I don't believe Peyton would ever share that delusion.)
I don't know if I will ever be able to wear my blue suede addidas again.
Can you imagine, a new GM in Indianapolis, and he never once said Peyton Manning's name?
That is totally weird. Maybe he didn't remember he was on the roster.... ;p
In other news, perhaps his time in Philly has made him the type of GM who is looking for a HC or OC who will lean heavily toward calling 45 passes and 15 runs a game. Sheesh, yeah, that's just what we need..... I agree with what Nate said about Reid's game management. In a lot of ways, Philly seems to have won despite him. Maybe he's an awesome practice/prep coach and not so much game-day... not sure. Maybe the organization was so well put together (drafts, roster, asst coaches) that Reid couldn't inflict that much damage on game days... which makes me optimistic about RG's tenure.
Goéland. Well yeah, just about no one (and maybe literally nobody) was going to reach Polian's success. I wish he was still around. But now that we've gotten rid of Polian and the draft project's #1 team, isn't #2 the best we could hope for?
(system wouldn't let me reply directly)
I find it fascinating that when the previous firings occurred, there were a lot of reasons presented to justify dismissing the Polians, like salary cap concerns, but that now that we know Grigson is the new GM, those areas of interest have taken the backseat. So first we´re in such dire straits that the situation is described as salary cap hell, but now we´re supposed to not care too much that the new GM is inexperienced about financial matters? Grigson could learn, that´s true, but it´s still a very valid concern, given that it´s this offseason that several lynchpins of the Colts need a new contract, and that things shouldn´t be easier until 2014 when the cap rises. Bill Polian was one of the architects of CBA negotiations, and a shrewd executive in that regard. We don´t know that Telesco will remain. Why am I not surprised that this doesn´t seem to faze Polian´s detractors in the slightest? I can understand not slamming him and extending some good will, but it feels more like sweeping it under the rug. Managing the team financially is certainly a big part of the FO´s responsibility, and I don´t want Irsay to be the one structuring all the contracts.
@DougEngland I promise you this: Manning will not be wearing another jersey. Irsay won't let it happen. He's 100% committed to Peyton. Normally, I'd be thrilled about that. My only fear is that Irsay's commitment goes further than it should, that he'll commit to a guy who may never play again.
@psvirsky Oh, I definitely get what you mean, and I understand that mindset. I´m truly pleased we went after somebody who by all accounts is a very bright mind as a drafter. I just can´t talk about him as un upgrade, nor let go that easily all of Polian´s accomplishments.
And if you want to reply directly, I think just omitting the "é" does the trick.
@Goeland What makes me extremely curious is that we really changed our tune about salary cap issues somewhere mid-season. Specifically, people started discussing the mess we were in when the team had went winless for 6-8 games. I remember reading (and I think it was DZ but I can't find the article) an article about the new CBA and Manning's contract, and how this was going to free us up financially to be a major contender for years to come. I have been wondering what happened to that viewpoint? What really makes this "cap hell"? Manning's hit is less than it was for years, we could be moving several aging players so that we have younger, inexpensive contracts, and we don't really have a "bad" contract on the books outside of the last year of Freeney's deal. Can someone explain why we are so worried about cap? I cannot find enough info to piece together a full cap review anyway...
@gizzardfanny Me too. Grigson's had his job for less than 48 hours and we're already accusing the owner of meddling, and the new guy of being an unqualified yes-man. Let's wait and see.
@Nate Dunlevy I always hate disputing you on these things, because I always feel that you know more than me. (Well let me rephrase that... you know more about what is going on behind the scenes with the Colts than I do.)
But my gut feeling is that trading the #1 pick is off the table.
And I do not think Peyton would put Irsay in a situation where he would accept his money and not play again. (That is why he agreed to set his contract up like this to begin with.)
And despite what Archie is now saying about Peyton and Luck co-existing... Peyton knows that situation is untentable.
Therefore, with trading the #1 pick off the table. come March 8th even if Irsay did want to pay Peyton his 28m, Peyton would still ask for his release. And I don't think Irsay would refuse him.
It just makes absolutely no sense for ANYBODY that Manning and Luck are on the same team. (Unless it is in Hawaii for the All-Star game) And even if Irsay is blinded to this... Peyton surely is not.
And frankly, I would rather see Peyton in another jersey, than have to endure the idiocy of having them both on the same team.
@Goéland We're on the same page then. Maybe his personality is an upgrade but I sure hope no one seriously thinks we can upgrade Polian in terms of wins and losses. We'd be lucky to get 80% of Polian.
Interesting that taking out the é does it. I wonder why.
as someone that feels like Irsay may "meddle", I will say: I expected him to hire Telesco. That he went outside of the organization gives me hope. Maybe I'm reading too much into what he said at his PCs. I'll pass more precise judgment after the Caldwell decision is made. @naptown_ninja @gizzardfanny
Botched as in the surgical procedure was botched, no, not to my understanding. Botched as in the wrong medical procedure was performed the first time? Yes. It is my understanding that the 3rd procedure was recommended BEFORE the 2nd procedure took place, but the doctor that performed the 2nd procedure opted for the 2nd procedure instead.
This is why the 2nd doctor was replaced after Manning plateaued and they went another route. That's my understanding from my super secret sources. I believe Laura can give more specifics.
@DougEngland I've heard no reason to think anything was botched. Haven't even heard anyone whisper about that.
As for what they are preparing for, I have no idea. My fear is that they haven't thought that far ahead. That's partly why I think it's a terrible idea.
@DougEngland@Nate Dunlevy There are two things that leap to my mind reading your exchange. First, and I know you disagree, Nate, but this whole descent into nightmare can only have happened if medically something was botched, if someone mishandled the situation. Back when the news broke, it sounded farfetched to talk about a career-threatening injury, but that´s indeed what it was, wasn´t it? An optional procedure turning into a lingering threat. Given the way this has happened, there is no doubt in my mind a few someones screwed up majorly. Majorly.
And secondly, given how right you are on these matters, I´m slowly resigning myself to the idea that the Colts have decided to draft Luck and are not contemplating trading that pick, which is just a nightmare. Instead of once again repeating my incredulity, I´ll ask, what plan do you think they have in mind? Do you think Irsay wants Peyton to play for 4 more years and then have Luck take over? Do you think the idea is that Peyton will relinquish his spot after two years? Regardless of how irrealistic it all sounds, what´s the outcome they´re trying to prepare for, in your opinion? And what about the rest of the team? Do you think they´ve decided to cut Freeney?
@Nate Dunlevy I hear ya'... and who am to try and read Peyton Manning's mind?
Still, the realization that no matter what happens, trading the #1 pick is not even on the table, depresses me to no end.
@DougEngland "If Peyton believes he can play and is willing to take Irsay's money, why wouldn't we believe him? Yes, I am holding Peyton to a higher level, but I believe he warrants that trust."
He doesn't. The whole "I'll just run a redzone offense the last 2 games" stunt is proof of that. He wasn't close to close enough to try that. I don't know how realistic Peyton has been about this at any stage of the game. He clearly wants to play and clearly wants people to think he's close (hence a lot of the misinformation about just how close he is), but there are still a lot of people over there that don't think he'll ever play again.
@Nate Dunlevy I know pro athletes are terrible at this and are generally the last to admit that they can't play any more. But It was Peyton last summer who knew something was wrong and started complaining to Coach Cutcliff (His go to guy), before shutting himself down.
If Peyton believes he can play and is willing to take Irsay's money, why wouldn't we believe him? Yes, I am holding Peyton to a higher level, but I believe he warrants that trust.
So as much money as it is and as much as Peyton is a creature of habit... playing for the Colts with Luck on the team makes no sense for him. (Except for the money, which I just don't believe motivates Peyton at all at this point of his career.)
@DougEngland 1. Yes, the #1 pick is off the table.
2. That is where you are wrong. Peyton wants to play. He may not be willing to accept the fact that he can't. Your assumption that he's a good or accurate judge of his health is off base.
3. Irsay is convinced there's no problem in having both on the same team. It makes no sense, but I believe he's committed to it.
This IS happening, unless Peyton retires.
no no, the joy is page hits! downloads! impressions! CLICKS!... @mattshedd
@GregC I have listened to one via download. However, I think the joy is in the live tweeting and all...
we ARE available for download, if you're interested... @mattshedd
@GregC I really need to figure out a way to be available for Pancakes...
@GregC We know so little of what goes on behind closed doors that you´re undoubtedly right. One thing I find myself immensely curious about now that the Polians are gone is what they would have done in this draft. Would they have taken Luck? I guess we´ll never know.
also want to add, I know you heard me say this last night, but for the people that haven't discovered the greatness of Pancakes ™, I'll repeat myself: I fully believe Grigson will do a fine job. That said, he could do a GREAT job and still fail to find success in Indianapolis. It all comes down to what he can do and what Irsay has laid out for him. @Goéland
@GregC Your answer was spot-on. It´s easy to look back at one particular game and say they could have won it, but judging the entire body of work by those near misses dismisses the value of what was done in an unrealistic way. Basically, that´s why statistics exist, to reflect truthfully. We will be extremely lucky if we manage to put together a string of 4 consecutive 10+ wins seasons (once Manning retires, because as long as he´s here we have the greatest trump card in the NFL) under Grigson. Polian had 7 consecutive 12+ wins seasons! And why can´t that "Rings, rings, rings" abomination die already?
I got into a twitter argument yesterday with a fine chap that told me "The Colts could be better" and I needed to get over my feeling that "Polian is the only guy that can build franchises."
My response was: I don't feel that Polian is the only person that can build franchises (though he's probably one of the best), but to say "the Colts could be better" is more cliche than reality. On a year-by-year basis, perhaps you could say 'the colts could be better THIS year", but on a 10-year consistent basis? They won more games than any team in the history of the NFL. To ask them to be better is asking them to average 13 wins per season. That is NOT realistic.
He then talked about rings, etc... which I said were basically not on the GM. GMs build playoff teams, coaches, players, and luck (not caps'd!) determine championships.
I just think, because of media, because of 3 rings in 4 years, etc... a lot of fans don't realize how amazing the Colts run of success was.
We don't have cap room next year to have the full bouns count so it has to be prorated over the next 4 years. If we then cut him one of the next years, the remaining cap hit will count immediately. I think if he's cut before June 1st, it counts against the present cap year, after June 1st it's the present and the next year. That's how it used to be, but that might have changed with the new CBA. I think the cap hit is spread over the 2012 and 2013 seasons if he retires, but someone else has to confirm this.
@Nate Dunlevy That was my understanding as well. I'm also under the impression that the remaining bonus of $28 will be prorated over the 4 years unless we pick up the option and then cut him. I understand the point of not picking up the option on him on March 8 because we wouldn't have to pay the $28 mil. What I'm trying to figure out if we do keep him would his bonus be year to year or would that money be due immediately. And what happens if he retires? Lets say he plays this year and retires, would his bonus count against the cap the following year? Everything I've read leads me to believe that the cap hit would have greatest effect if we sign and cut him but if we sign him and he retires the blow would be substantially less. It would make a huge difference if the whole $28 mil is paid no matter if he retires or is cut or if its prorated if he plays out the remainder of the contract or a couple of the remaining years.
@keep_the_eraser My understanding is that is was structured in such a way that the bonus for year one was accounted for upfront. That might not be accurate, but that's my understanding. Indy can cut him with no further cap hit.
@Nate Dunlevy Hey Nate, How is his contract structured? I thought he had a base salary then a bonus which was prorated over the remaining years of the contract unless they cut him, then it would be an immediate hit for the full amount. Could you please clarify, Thanks!!
@mattshedd In other words, if he's healthy, they sign him and he plays four more years, we're back to the golden predictions of last August. If not, it starts looking hellish.
@ Goeland. @mattshedd
That's certainly not me, but I think the cap hell scenarios only begin if Manning is resigned and is not rertained for the remainder of his contract.
@GregC@naptown_ninja@gizzardfanny Frankly, keeping Caldwell would be for all purposes a default position, something needed to mitigate uncertainties in this time of upheaval, and that´s something that greatly displeases me when he is directly responsible for most of the observable problems the Colts have had in recent years. Don´t get me wrong, I think he has some outstanding qualities in terms of nurturing talent and behind-the-scenes stuff, but his gameplans and gametime decisions are so atrocious they outweigh his qualities. The list is long and painful, and maybe we don´t need to rehearse it, but seriously, after letting go of one of the most integral parts of your success, one whose genius is not replicable, you plan to keep and rely on one of the most mediocre parts of your blueprint, one that could with just a little effort be upgraded? I agree with Greg, there are probably two or three assistants out there who could be good HCs. Otherwise this offseason will feel like a backwards medical treatment: keeping what ails you and getting rid of your unique source of vitality. Add to that the craptastic plan to draft Luck and keep Manning, and it´s just watching a brilliant team poised for greatness do a 180 turnaround for no reason and swirl into the drain.
@GregC@gizzardfanny Honestly, I've been on both sides of this. I believe the team needs a better head coach, but I also believe he hasn't been as bad many fans say. I felt much more comfortable debating this side of it after the Colts won the division and made the playoffs, against all odds in 2010, but whatever.
I guess my question is, will Grigson's failure to replace Caldwell in his first season constitute a failure of leadership on the young GM's part?
My issues with Caldwell go much deeper than a few timeouts. He was horribly out-coached in the Super Bowl. His aggression decisions have certainly not helped the Colts. Even when Manning was healthy, he made his decisions as if he had the Ravens defense and the Jaguars offense, and not PEYTON "F" MANNING.
Further, I don't know if you read the recent Phil B. Blog, "Deconstructing the Mess", but in it, Phil says that multiple players told him that the team abandoned their game plan early into games, they didn't use half time for adjusting, and that the players had basically lost confidence in Caldwell's coaching.
Two things. First, say what you will about Phil, but I don't believe he would fabricate something like this. I have respect for him, and whatever you thought of his coverage this year, he wasn't flat out making stuff up (he may have interpreted situations incorrectly, for example).
Second, I normally don't take accounts like this seriously - when we had the Kravitz RATS! column, I said it was logical for a few ex-employees to be disgruntled - but these are players still on the team talking about a coach everyone supposedly loves. I think it is really a great cause for concern. And Phil attaches Jamaal Anderson's names to one of the ridiculous stories (read the piece if you haven't), so it's not as if the situation is totally unverifiable.
The funny thing is, if you asked a Colts fan what the Colts game plan or in-game adjustments were, they would have said nothing, half jokingly. Now, it seems it was serious. Not so funnnnny.
@GregC@gizzardfanny I'm just going to put this out there: It won't be the end of my world if the Colts keep Caldwell. He was bad at timeouts last year, but was better at it this year. My biggest beef was the staff he hired (Coyer, and Rychleski were terri-bad). But he never lost the locker room, he's won an afc south title and an afc title. I know I'm going to get blasted for this, but keeping caldwell won't lessen my opinion of Grigson in the least. Of course, if there's someone better out there, bring him on....