ANDERSON – Talk in training camp from club brass has been about unfinished business.
It is a good feeling to have when there are games to be won.
The last one the Colts played set the talking point when trailing by a narrow margin deep in Baltimore territory in last January’s Wild Card Playoffs, Indianapolis failed to convert with 12 minutes left and the Ravens went on to win by 15 points.
Indianapolis was ushered into the off-season, while Baltimore, using terms voiced by Grigson and Chuck Pagano, “hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.”
That image is emblazoned on training camp shirts, and Grigson – who helped steer the Colts to a nine-game turnaround in his first year – says there should be no feelings of comfort.
“I don’t know if you ever get comfortable,” said Grigson. “If you ever say the world ‘comfortable’ then you’re probably not going to be around too long. So I don’t ever really allow myself to be comfortable.”
“That’s the mindset in the building,” said Grigson. “We’re always trying to get better. If we tell the players not to stop and smell the roses, then we’d better not be doing that ourselves.”
There are certain times of the year that personnel whizzes love. The combine is one, the draft is another. Spring work reveals more, but training camp is a truer test because the physical nature of the game is stepped up.
Months building a roster trickle down to days to get ready to compete.
“It’s exciting,” said Grigson Sunday as his players warmed up for the first full practice. “This is what training camp is for is – to work out a lot of the roster mechanics and the ensuing battles that are about to happen here at camp.
“It’s what we wanted from the beginning. Chuck (Pagano) and I had always wanted to create a great environment of competition because we believe that brings the best out of everyone. Chuck’s thing he likes to say (is), ‘Man sharpens man as iron sharpens iron.’ We had that whole premise and it’s kind of been the theme throughout the offseason, throughout OTAs and especially now in camp.”
Grigson and Pagano build with vision, care and purpose. Attracting and retaining talent is done with a singleness of mind and that is to have a roster full of performers with ‘horseshoe’ traits.
Success last year was achieved by players buying into the program. The fruits of doing so led to 11 wins.
The playoff berth not expected by many outside the locker room walls was a payoff, but there was no playoff victory, thus unfinished business.
Voices beyond Grigson and Pagano share that feeling, and it will remain firm as training camp leads forward to the next challenge.
“(I was) a little disappointed because we didn’t get the game won, disappointed that we didn’t go as far as we wanted to go,” said
“I walked off that field with the mindset of whatever we did wrong last year we got to correct and do better this year so we can move (forward).
“Last year was last year. It’s in the past, bro. It’s been erased…gone. Today is the present. I’m going to treat it as a gift, and I’m looking for more gifts down the road – wins, playoff berths and hopefully the big prize at the end.”