INDIANAPOLIS – As Ryan Grigson glanced down the indoor practice facility last Thursday prior to the start of the Colts final minicamp practice, his eyes lit up when he looked at what was mounted on the south wall.
Super Bowl and AFC South banners take up a chunk of space on the wall indicating what is expected when players enter the facility.
Grigson recalled the first time he walked into the indoor field and what attracted him to return to his home state to embark on a plan of delivering even more banners.
“We set the bar high. Our owner sets the bar high,” said Grigson.
“We expect greatness and I feel like any time you take your nose off the grindstone or you stop and smell the roses, it’s not far after that that you’re out of this league. It’s a blue-collar mindset. How can we tell the players to adhere to that type of thinking and way of life if we’re not doing it at the top?”
That mindset is how Grigson and his personnel staff approached the past few months and the proof of their hard work comes with the names of Bradshaw, Cherilus, Landry, Walden etc.
Last week, the Colts concluded a three-day minicamp with Grigson getting his first look at nearly all of the free agent signees on the field.
The new faces across both sides of the ball carry strong, individual resumes but when potential free agents enter the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Grigson makes it clear what the top priority is in Indianapolis.
“We know we have acquired quite a bit of talent and at the end of the day Chuck (Pagano) and I say this whole thing is about team.” Grigson said. “We want to mold this thing and get it to where we build off last year and everyone’s on the same page like last year.”
When Grigson sat down with local media prior to February’s NFL Combine and the Colts general manager did not sugarcoat things when wanting to address the offensive line this offseason.
The additions came via veterans
Free agency wasn’t the only area where the offensive line was an emphasis with the Colts drafting guard
With the return of four starters, the offensive line has the depth needed to find the right corps that will be in charge of keeping
“Again, we’ve said it before, we have to do a premium job of protecting our quarterback. He’s obviously an outstanding player. We don’t need him running for his life. We need him to feel as comfortable as possible,” Grigson said.
“We want to have the conditions be optimal for him because that’s the only way it’s going to really develop him to the player that he can be.”
Now with the bulk of the “off” season behind Grigson, the calendar will soon turn to July and with that comes another training camp and year two under a new regime.
OTAs and minicamp offered a glimpse into what Grigson has built over the past few months but as a former offensive linemen himself he’s anxious for training camp when the hitting and excitement level only rises.
“I just ran out of a meeting with some of my scouts and Jimmy Raye and we were just talking about how are we going to be able to even try to recharge our batteries over this next month,” Grigson said last week.
“We have to, but, it is exciting, especially after (Wednesday’s open practice at Lucas Oil Stadium), seeing some of the team speed, seeing the size of our team now, it’s markedly bigger, stronger, faster than it was last year. It’s exciting because you want to see it with the pads on. That’s the whole deal.”