INDIANAPOLIS –Ryan Grigson came to the Colts with 13 previous years of personnel experience with St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Grigson landed in Indianapolis in January to help resurrect an Indianapolis franchise that dropped to 2-14 in 2011, including 13 losses to open the season.
At 7-4, the Colts are vibrant in the AFC playoff hunt and have avoided consecutive losses all season.
Noted NFL figure Bill Parcells used to say, 'Check with me after Thanksgiving, by then you are what you are.' Grigson feels the Colts are fighters.
"I can say we are a team that doesn't know what it means to quit," said Grigson. "(We're) a team that has gotten knocked down pretty hard at times but gets up and dusts itself off and heads back out to the center of the ring ready to strike another blow. I love that about this team and staff. They are a group of fighters."
Indianapolis meets a battling, talented Detroit team on the road Sunday, and the Colts aim for a third road win in six tries. The Lions have the NFL's second-ranked offense and top-ranked passing attack, and key according to Grigson in meeting challenges away from Lucas Oil Stadium is for the team not to beat itself.
Thirteen giveaways in double-digit losses at Chicago, the New York Jets and New England doomed victory chances and largely spell the club's -14 turnover ratio. That ratio ranks 30th in the NFL.
Grigson says "creating turnovers" is a needed area of growth for the team between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The club record for the fewest in a season was eight in 1975. That was a 14-game season, and Indianapolis currently has created seven.
The best overall thing for the team is that its fate is within control. Indianapolis is in the top Wild Card spot in a field that will be competitive until the last week.
A reason for the position is a 6-1 mark in games decided by eight points or less. The league has had 95 games decided by one score through week 12, a record-setting pace. The club's mark is among the league's best, and Grigson knows where credit goes for shaping a young team.
"That's a credit to Bruce and our coaches in terms of their overall development to this point, keeping them focused, putting them in positions to win and good play-calling," said Grigson. "The staff is instilling the right mindset to finish our opponents."
Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians has told the team to stay within the moment and work the process it has worked to this point. Grigson feels firmly that the team is not swayed by external factors because of great internal leadership by the football staff.
"Maybe I'm delusional, but I honestly feel we collectively don't pay attention," said Grigson. "We have a one day at a time, one play at a time philosophy around here. It's the only way."