INDIANAPOLIS — Sitting at 1-3 is not where Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson imagined his team would be heading into Week 5 of the 2016 regular season.
But after last week's 30-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London — and the long, long flight home that followed — Grigson said perhaps the best thing for this Colts team will be to get back onto the field as soon as possible so it can move on and start the second quarter of the season on a better note.
That's exactly what the Colts hope to do on Sunday, when they play host to the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium. In doing so, Indianapolis will be the first NFL franchise to play the next week after playing overseas, instead of taking their Bye Week.
"I think, when you look at it, after losing like we did in Jacksonville, it would sure be tough to sit around for two weeks waiting to play someone else," Grigson said this week. "I think we want to get that bad taste out of our mouth and get a win."
For Grigson, the issues for the Colts this season have mostly been self-inflicted. On offense, the protection up front hasn't been nearly up to par, and when quarterback Andrew Luck has had time to throw the ball, then his receivers have had some issues holding onto the ball.
Defensively, tackling has been a major issue at times, as well as some untimely penalties in the back end that have extended drives for the opponent.
These were all apparent last week against the Jaguars. Luck was sacked six times and hit another eight times, and the receivers had several key drops. Defensively, the Colts — the most penalized team on defense in the league — had multiple penalties that allowed Jacksonville to extend drives and, in many cases, put more points on the board.
"(We have) to stop the self-inflicted wounds — just stop it," Grigson said. "It's at every level. If you don't tackle and you don't execute, you're going to lose."
So how have the Colts responded to the adversity this week? With "shorter, more condensed, pretty intense practices," Grigson said.
And they've been productive. Of course, the goal is to carry that work into Sunday's game against the Bears and escape with a victory, but the Colts know they have a huge challenge ahead of them.
"I think we did some good things this week," Grigson said. "But again, nothing matters until Sunday afternoon and what you do in that three-hour window on Sunday. So, again, to give us the best chance to win in the National Football League is to not put ourselves in a corner, and it's from the very beginning, to execute."
The biggest thing for the Colts, however, is not to panic. Though the first quarter of the season certainly did not go as planned, Indianapolis finds itself just two games out of first place in the AFC South Division, and is one of six teams currently with a 1-3 record.
As the team hits a critical stretch, Grigson is confident the Colts can "crawl out of the spot we're in."
"It's early. It's early in the season. It's the first quarter of the season. A lot of ball is left to be played," he said. "We have to take it one day at a time, we have to get back to playing winning football, smart football and sound football, and that will give us the best chance to start stacking some wins."