Brett Mock recaps the 2011 End of Year Colts Show -- previously the Bill Polian show -- and offers some insight on Colts President Jim Irsay's statements in response to questions from hosts Bob Lamey and Jeffrey Gorman.
While ColtsAuthority.com has promised a weekly feature that covers the Bill Polian show each Monday, we regret to inform our readers that we will be unable to fulfill that commitment to you. What weekly radio show will occur in 2012, and who will be the primary member of the Colts front office to participate in that show is still unkown.
For now, Colts Authority stayed true to our promise by live tweeting that portion of the show that included Colts owner Jim Irsay -- fresh from his press conference announcing the firing of Bill and Chris Polian. Much of his comments in response to questions from Bob Lamey and Jeffrey Gorman were repeats from the press conference but CA will give you some commentary on statements that stood out, and continued important themes that have long-term implications on the Colts franchise as the 2012 off-season begins.
Irsay: Mondays when seasons end are always difficult. February in 2007 wasn't too difficult.
It was tough. My long relationship with Bill that really goes back 30 years. It was a very difficult day. Very difficult several months knowing heading into this off-season I was going to have to make some very difficult decisions. Have to be resolute on the way you feel your franchise needs to go. It's the right time to move in a different direction. I am really excited about what the future holds.
This was tough but at the same time, I felt this was the first move that needed to be made. As we go forward in the process of continuing to evaluate the coaching situation and work towards getting back to greatness again. Setting ourselves up for a long run, not a quick fix but a long run.
Jeffrey Gorman: What qualities are you looking for, someone with a new vision?
Irsay: Strong likelihood that the new GM will not be someone who has been a GM before. Do like experience. Age not important.
Must be able to articulate a clear vision for the franchise. A tremendous talent evaluator to bring in the most talented players. Bill Polian was a tremendous talent evaluator. In the end that must be a key component.
Whomever Irsay has his eye on to replace Bill/Chris Polian as the GM in Indianapolis is not a seasoned, veteran GM. It sounds like he may be relatively young as well. In any case, the door seems to be wide open on what options Irsay believes are available to him to achieve the goals he sets forth for the team moving forward.
Lamey: Is there a timetable for the decision?
Irsay: The sooner the better but can't rush it. May want to have discussions with people with teams who are in the playoffs.
If teams are in the playoffs they can ask you to wait to talk to heads of player personnel until after the playoffs.
Again, there seems to be some indication the Irsay is eyeing a younger executive that is currently on a playoff team. His statements could just be smoke and mirrors or could be a very intelligent way to buy some time and appease fans for the next few weeks, but it also indicates the open-minded approach to replacing the Polians mentioned above.
Gorman: How long of a process will you take to make a decision regarding the head coach?
Irsay: Most likely the GM will be in before a final decision is made regarding the head coach. That could change if someone becomes available that I really want to bring in, I don't want to box myself in. There is a possibility Jim could come back and try to get this back on track.
In 1998, we were 3-13 but you knew were in the right direction because you could see the talent. When Peyton came in there were great players like Tarik Glenn, Marvin Harrison, Ken Dilger, Marshall Faulk...
In 2005 we had the most complete team we've ever had. We have had defensive inconsistencies. At this point there are real decisions to be made. Have real salary cap issues.
Tommy Telesco has worked very closely with Bill and Chris Polian and is discussing the team's direction with myself and Caldwell.
Have decisions to make regarding franchise players, our scouts are out and we're working on the future even with these decisions to be made
One of the more interesting statements Irsay made Monday is the one regarding the difference between the team going 3-13 in 1998 and the 2011 2-14 record. It seems clear that Irsay believes the team is on the decline now, while it was on the incline then, and that kind of perspective suggests major personnel overhauls. Couple that with mentions of building for long-term success, and more weight is given to the idea that Irsay plans to enter a full rebuilding mode.
Lamey: You're excited as I've ever seen you about the team.
Irsay: No question. It was a great draft . Had some injuries to our top three picks. Hoping that clears up.
The Texans are still a very young team and will get healthy and will be someone to be reckoned with in the division.
Jeffery Gorman: New era... expand on that?
Irsay: New era. They often don't have an exact end date. We're moving into a rebuilding process at some positions on the team.
We want to be able to win right away. We want to be able to retain some of our veteran football players. Ideally we can move into the new era that gives us a chance to win next year and moving forward. Critical that the way we work this thing with the salary cap to fix this thing for a long period of time. We are interested in greatness, not just going 9-7 and then falling back.
When the Favre thing was going on and Rodgers was there but not ready yet. There was a lot of turmoil there.
This is about making sure that we can sustain greatness and do the sort of things that really give us a chance to win a championship.
These statements are the first time Irsay had a more wholistic message regarding the team's future and left it open to pursue retaining some of the team's veterans to win in 2012 and long into the future. As mentioned in the recap of the press conference though, the "win now" game plan will depend on retaining a healthy Peyton Manning at a price that doesn't destroy the salary cap moving forward.
Lamey: How important is the 2012 Draft to the future of this franchise?
Irsay: It's very important. We didn't want this pick. We wanted to keep winning. Mentions chance for a perfect record and pulling players not being an indication that the team didn't want to win. Just wanted to have the best chance to win the Super Bowl.
Having this first pick and controlling our own destiny, now a second rounder is like a first rounder for us because of where we've picked. Big time draft and we have to make sure we get it right.
Irsay mentions a very good point. The number one overall pick in the draft gets a great deal of play, for obvious reasons, but the significance of picking high in the first round passes on to the later rounds as well.
Gorman: New general manager, what factors are you looking for at a possible hire?
Irsay: It's a very intuitive aspect. Over the years learning the right questions to ask to reveal beliefs. In 1995 I interviewed 12 HCs.
You have a certain criteria you use. When you're talking to people and looking them in the eye... looking for the vision of the franchise
This is probably going to be a little different than it has been for us. Bill Tobin to Bill Polian, veteran guy. Mora to Dungy, knew they knew what they were doing based upon experience.
I think you can make an argument that coaches that have done very well, when they have gone to another club they have not succeeded as well.
We are going to make sure we get the right [person]. I go after people as aggressively as possible. That's the way I've always done it.
More will be revealed. When the sun comes up tomorrow we'll be right back in the mix trying to get better.
As was discussed Monday, the team is in a state of limbo right now. How Colts Owner Jim Irsay chooses to fill the general manager position, and head coaching position, will have a major influence on the direction the team takes heading into the future. The continued recovery and contract generosity of quarterback Peyton Manning will also have a major influence on the team's future.
Strap in for a suspenseful ride over the coming weeks Colts fans. The Indianapolis Colts are taking on an entirely new form right before your eyes.
Thanks for the recaps, Brett. To me the most interesting tidbits were the fact that he was convinced he needed a major change to have a chance at greatness 10, 15 years down the line. That in my mind is a direct indictment of Chris, because the next 4 years were never in doubt assuming a healthy Peyton thanks to Bill´s presence. It remains to be seen if that wasn´t a foolish move by Irsay. 4 years is an eternity in the NFL... And also very intriguing to see him openly talk about keeping some veterans. I´m betting this indicates a serious commitment to retain Mathis in particular, but not many others.
"I think you can make an argument that coaches that have done very well, when they have gone to another club they have not succeeded as well."
Was this implying that he's not leaning towards one of the veteran coaches? And if so, should we take it as read, or is he playing misdirection games with other owners alredy?
@pierrezombie I think it's more Irsay just saying that as a general fact of NFL history. He'll consider everyone that he needs to consider, but personally, I HOPE he doesn't pick someone who's already been a head coach. My first choice is still Zimmer in Cincy. We don't need your average coach, we need an aggressive, risk-taking coach to match Peyton's own aggressive style (if he's healthy, of course. Of course, Luck could be just as aggressive).
In other news, Sandy Ego sticks with AJ Smith and Norv Turner, so they won't take over here. I know that it sad news to most people.