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AN EYE FOR CHEMISTRY

Posted Jan 24, 2013

Building a team is both a passion and strength of Ryan Grigson. How Grigson does it is with elbow grease, intellect and with an eye for chemistry. Those will be in play as he approaches free agency and the draft.

INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson’s first year with the Colts was one marked by a massive influx of personnel.

 

Additions came from the college level, from other NFL teams, from leagues located outside the country and even from one that fielded eight-man teams.

 

The Colts used 68 players over 16 regular-season games, starting 42 and creating names by the end of the year that were much more recognizable than they were than from the outset.

 

Grigson is two weeks into his second year as general manager.  More long-term building blocks are in place than when he arrived, and he will not be as constrained with a salary cap that fits as snugly as last year.

 

Still, his approach to building a team is measured.  Meshing new talent with old will be a judicious process.

 

“I’ve looked at a number of UFAs (unrestricted free agents).  I see them when we’re watching opponents film (when) we’re preparing for the next team we play throughout the season,” said Grigson last week on the Dan Dakich Show.  “You see guys and you know who they are.  You kind of take a peek at them, and you kind of look at them a little bit. 

 

“If there’s a guy who knocks my socks off that I feel is going to help us get to our goal, I’ll go guns blazing to get him.  I feel that way.” 

 

Sometimes money is spent to retain home-grown talent.  Such was the case last year with Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis.  That approach applied to many other outstanding Colts prior to Grigson’s arrival, and teams rarely get the proper notice for doing so. 

 

Other times, an eye toward veteran free agents brings dividends.  Cory Redding, Tom Zbikowski, Samson Satele, Mike McGlynn and Donnie Avery are recent proof of that.

 

Grigson drafted well in 2012 and supplemented the roster with trades that landed Winston Justice, Vontae Davis, Moise Fokou, Cassius Vaughn and Josh Gordy.

 

It was an aggressive tactic taken by a personnel “grinder,” though doing so not always is the best option.

 

“Sometimes the difference between being better than the guy next to you in this league is very slight, very slight.” 

 

The overwhelming majority of his moves were successful.  The draft class rookies totaled 3,108 scrimmage yards as Andrew Luck and Dwayne Allen started 16 times, Vick Ballard opened 12 times, while T.Y. Hilton (15 appearances), Coby Fleener (10 starts, 12 appearances) and LaVon Brazill (15 games) saw heavy action.

 

Additionally, newcomers like Jerrell Freeman, Matt Overton, A.Q. Shipley and Mario Harvey performed well all season, and there were a number of players – like Deji Karim – who starred in key moments.

 

“If you’re starting on an NFL team and you’ve won as many games as we did, you have to be doing something right,” said Grigson of players who seized moments to contribute.  “I’m very objective.  I’m looking at it, too, that we have great chemistry on this team.  You also have to factor that in when you’re making moves.”

 

While personnel additions happen annually, there will be an effort to attract individuals who will fit the process.

 

“It’s huge,” said Grigson of chemistry.  “The special year we had, it really kind of puts me in a very different situation as a general manager. 

 

“These guys all bought in.  They laid it on the line every week.  Every week, they (outsiders) were picking us to lose still.  It’s like we were this cute story in Indianapolis and we were going to eventually figure out that we weren’t good.  It just never happened.  These guys believed in what Chuck laid down from the beginning, and they bought in.”

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