INDIANAPOLIS – As Ryan Grigson watches his second straight Colts team prepare for playoff action, here are Five Questions with the only general manager in the Colts’ Indianapolis era to make the post-season twice to start a career:
What does it mean to you to make a second straight playoff appearance and do so as a division champion?
It was our goal going into the season and we accomplished it. It’s a testament to the focus and determination to achieve our goals no matter the set of circumstances. Any time you can win your division, that is a great source of pride and achievement, but we have some more banners we want to hang before this season is over.
How meaningful is it to you that this team reached double digits in victories and to what do you attribute that?
It is nice to get double digits in the win column. You always want to improve your record from the previous year, but, again, it is about winning your division and finding a way to peak come playoff time regardless of what your record is.
The organization has used 73 different players to this point, a total that is the highest in the NFL. How tough has it been for the team to excel under those challenging circumstances?
We were left with no choice, so we all just put our best foot forward, got people in here and up to speed as quickly as possible. That’s our job. Despite all the injuries the last two seasons (28 players on injured reserve) Kevin Rogers, Andrew Berry and our scouts have done a fantastic job in our pro scouting department. With all the long hours of film work, pro scouting trips, communication with our college scouts and all their information therein, they have supplied us with a deep reservoir of quality names to draw from throughout the course of the season. The talent pool definitely gets thinned out as the year wears on, but we have managed to find able bodies even here at the tail end of the season and can actually be excited about those prospects and their development. No matter what the landscape looks like, we have a mindset around here that there are enough people on the planet to cast a wide net and find some able bodies that give you a chance to win. At the same time you need a coaching staff that is open and willing to develop those players the best they can in a very short amount of time. Chuck and his staff know how vital that is not only in the near term for the franchise, but for its long-term health and success as well. They are all-in and do a great job in that respect.
In boxing terms, would you describe this team as a brawler or street-type of fighter? If so describe why, or if there is a better analogy what would it be?
Both. I think that’s a great analogy, one that is pretty spot on actually. There have been many times where this team reminds you of a Chuck Wepner, an Evander Holyfield or even a Jim Braddock/Rocky Balboa type because of that blue collar, relentless fighting spirit they have. Seeing that demonstrated time and again the last two seasons is a tremendous source of pride for this organization. We have won games this year that practically every single person in America picked us to lose and the only people who believed we would or could win were those men in our locker room. So many times they have been counted out, and I’ve actually watched people file out of opposing stadiums in droves because they thought we were out for the count. Not this team. Not this head coach. No matter the circumstances, they somehow drag themselves out to the center of the ring again and wait for that second wind and when that second wind comes, look out because they will knock you out. That has very little to do with talent but everything to do with character and the will to win. It’s what it is all about in my opinion.
What type of atmosphere do you expect from the home crowd and are you pleased the organization has provided its fans a home playoff game?
It has to be like the Denver game, but even better. We had the roof open and you could barely hear yourself think in Lucas Oil Stadium that night. We draw energy from our great fans, and that game showed simultaneously how special this team and our fans can be and just how special that connection is. It was definitely a factor in our victory. That’s how it has to be for the playoffs, and I have no doubt our fans will deliver.