INDIANAPOLIS — It's a question Ryan Grigson hears from both players and their agents at the beginning of each training camp: "How exactly do you make the Indianapolis Colts' final roster?"
The answer, Grigson said, might be simpler than one would think.
"It always comes down to doing your job, but making plays," the Colts' general manager said this week. "I mean, if you make plays, it's going to be hard to cut you. But if you don't do your job consistently, it's going to be hard for the coaches to trust you."
Those two elements, according to Grigson, "have to be a marriage."
"It's not always just what we in the personnel department or the coaches see from a talent standpoint," he continued. "It's got to be, can this guy be counted on to make those plays with regularity?"
The fifth-year GM spoke with Bob Lamey this week at the conclusion of training camp at Anderson University, where he came away satisfied with the work put in by the players and coaches, but aware that work still needed to be done both on and off the field.
"Usually when you work this hard, good things happen," Grigson said. "You know, we've had our casualties, there's no doubt; I mean we're really, really thin at some spots. But we went into this camp with a hard-nosed mindset — coach has kind of had that air about him and this team going into this. So I think we accomplished what we wanted to from that aspect for sure."
After seeing their first of five scheduled preseason games — the Hall of Fame Game matchup against the Green Bay Packers — canceled due to poor field conditions at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the Colts will take the field tonight for the first time this season against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y.
From a player personnel perspective, Grigson said his staff will be looking for a variety of skills and comprehension from every Colts player that steps onto the field tonight.
Morning practice on day 11 of the Colts 2016 Training Camp.
The aforementioned production is key, but showing you can do it when the lights come on is crucial for those vying for spots on the final 53-man roster.
"If a guy's out there and he's just there, kind of there, and there's no pizzazz or nothing really pops off the film and you're not seeing any production — and it might be a guy that'd been producing all of camp — that's when it counts," Grigson said. "And practice does count to a degree, but, you know, nothing counts more than the film. So you want to see guys play hard, playing with physicality, getting the job done, but producing and doing it consistently."
And that means "whether it's on special teams" or "whether it's they get thrown in there at a different position," Grigson said.
As for the younger players, while it's expected that errors will be made at times, "at least do it at a high rate of speed."
"We like playmakers," Grigson said. "We like guys that have 'play' speed, and then make plays."