INDIANAPOLIS – Any time a perennial winning franchise misses the playoffs in two straight seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years, changes are inevitable.
Jim Irsay made a significant one on Saturday---parting ways with general manager Ryan Grigson. Head Coach Chuck Pagano remains under contract.
The tenure for Grigson comes to a close after five seasons working in Indianapolis.
Instant success came to Grigson and the Colts when he took over as a first-year general manager.
Going from 2-14 in 2011, to 11-5 and the playoffs in 2012 marked one of the NFL's greatest single-season turnarounds.
Two more 11-win seasons, including postseason appearances, followed the next two years, with the arrow pointing up as Andrew Luck entered his prime.
It was the 2015 season when things began to spiral in the opposite direction for the Colts.
A spending spree 2015 offseason didn't lead to the results matching up with the Super Bowl expectations from so many around the NFL.
The Colts finished '15 with an 8-8 mark. Luck's season lasted just nine games, as the offensive line hits continued to pile up on the team's franchise quarterback.
Stressing the need for continuity, Irsay retained his GM and head coach following the postseason-less 2015 campaign.
With new contracts in hand, Grigson entered 2016 with a focus on the offensive line.
Despite spending half their draft capitol going towards the offensive trenches, the Colts would once again fail to make the playoffs.
Even with Luck healthy for 15 of the team's 16 games, Indy would be playoff spectators for a second straight season---for the first time since 1997-98.
A lack of impactful defensive talent was glaring throughout Grigson's reign in Indianapolis. Under Grigson, the Colts used just 4 of their 14 draft picks in the first three rounds on defense. Henry Anderson and T.J. Green are the only top-three round drafted defenders that remain on the roster.
The Colts were 30th in total defense this past season.
Other factors that played into Irsay's decision had to have included the following:
-A 3-5 mark in their last eight AFC South games, after winning in a row against the division.
-Going 0-8 combined against the Patriots and Steelers over the past five years, with those losses averaging 24.5 points per game in defeat.
-Inconsistent offensive line play was a recurring theme throughout the last handful of seasons.