INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson spent half an hour on Thursday talking about his team and a second consecutive season that produced a playoff berth.
Thanking internal support and the loyalty of Colts fans, he said the initial steps into 2014 will be measured and timed for maximum results.
"We have to step away for a little bit, decompress, let the dust settle so we can get a clear picture," said Grigson. "Right now, it's too fresh. It's too hard to say right now, 'That needs to be fixed,' even though we have the full body of work at our disposal.
"There's still emotion involved. I think you need to step away. We need to have discussions."
Indianapolis' playoff loss at New England was on the second anniversary of Grigson's hiring, and started the clock ticking on 2014.
The Colts could have as many as 18 unrestricted free agents, some household names like Antoine Bethea, Donald Brown and Adam Vinatieri, plus it has 15 players coming off injured reserve, including notables like Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Allen and Vick Ballard.
Grigson will address the tick-tock of time prudently.
"The league year doesn't start until March 11. We need to be smart and succinct with our approach," said Grigson. "Everybody wants to have it now in a microwave society and open the microwave door before the time is even up.
"We have to have some patience and build this thing the right way with these young players we have."
Grigson said rehabilitation of injured players is fine and in having to play 73 players in 18 games, growth was evident.
"We saw some guys start to ascend from good to great and from average to good," said Grigson. "You want your backups to have starter ceilings. We want guys when you plug them in, there's not a drop off. We want championship-level players throughout the roster. That's the goal."
Grigson stressed consistency is a must, citing the Colts beating three of the four remaining playoff teams (Denver, San Francisco, Seattle), while trailing New England by seven points in the fourth quarter of an eventual 43-22 loss.
There were other times his young team struggled, needing a number of comeback wins and absorbing large-deficit losses to Arizona and St. Louis.
"We need to be more consistent as a whole," said Grigson. "We have to put it together for four quarters. We can't have the roller-coaster ride.
"We're a very young team, led by a young quarterback. Everybody in this organization is pretty darned new. We're growing together as a family, building this thing the right way."
The Colts have not dropped consecutive games, the only NFL team from 2012-13 to do that. Playoff berths have reached deeper rounds in consecutive years and 23 wins dot the process.
"We're happy with our direction, but not nearly satisfied," said Grigson. "To say we're not disappointed we're not in New York (for the Super Bowl) would be a lie. We are going in the right direction."
Grigson said decisions about possible veteran free agents have not been made and messages in the social media world should not lead to conclusions, "that's the cart before the horse. Those conversations will come later."
With Vontae Davis' contract up, he did say, "any cover corner is going to be high in the pecking order, especially in a scheme like ours."
Andrew Luck's contract is not up, but planning for that time is in play.
"You have to be smart. We're always forward-thinking," said Grigson. "You don't want to hamstring yourself and lose your franchise (laughs).
"I have very smart people around me who remind me, including our owner. We'll be smart about that. We'll make sure we keep our best players here the best we can."
COACHING FRONT – Indianapolis changed two coordinators prior to the season and while Chuck Pagano said earlier this week his staff would remain firm, there is a possibility the Colts could be looking for a new offensive coordinator.
Grigson confirmed Vanderbilt has sought permission to speak with Pep Hamilton about its vacant coaching position. Hamilton joined the Colts January 15 of last year after Bruce Arians became Arizona's head coach.
"Right now, we're just waiting to see," said Grigson. "This time of year, if you're good, usually you're going to be in demand from other teams. It's the by-product of success. It's part of the business.
"It's why you have to have 'Next Man Up' with your coaching staff as well. It's nothing unusual."
Arians was the first coach Pagano hired in 2012, while Clyde Christensen moved from coordinator to quarterbacks coach. Hamilton was Stanford's coordinator prior to joining Indianapolis.
"You deal with it, find the best people, try to find the matches in personality and philosophy and all the things to build on the great foundation we've laid," said Grigson. "If there is change, we're going to be optimistic about who the replacements are. There's nothing imminent."