INDIANAPOLIS – As the Colts embark on the final quarter of the season, Ryan Grigson has constructed a roster primed for a third straight playoff appearance.
Grigson has always talked about the importance of playing ascending football in the final stretch of the year and the Colts will try to build on their two-game winning streak into December.
The Colts have made some noise with their roster moves the past two weeks and Grigson touched on those additions and much more in this Q&A with Colts.com: What went behind the moves to sign veterans Josh Cribbs and Shaun Phillips?
"Really nothing more than trying to get better and see if they can help provide us a better chance of winning down the stretch. The scouts do such a great job of bringing names to my attention to watch even when the cupboard is drying up out there. Josh Cribbs has shown from the first time he's touched the ball for us that he can still roll. He's a gamer and has such a genuine confidence in his craft. That confidence was tangible at his workout weeks ago and probably made more of a lasting impression on me than his actual workout did. It is nice to see three experienced guys like Pat McAfee, Adam Vinatieri and Josh Cribbs all working in together in unison. They are true pros at the top of their game that take immense pride in their job. I feel it rubs off on the rest of an already talented unit in its own right. Shaun is still a bit of an unknown to us, but he's a guy that shows glimpses of savvy and has a very crafty way about him when working to the QB. He is only one year removed from a 10-sack season with the AFC champs and I was pleasantly surprised with the toughness and effort he showed on early downs on Tennessee film this year. We'll see."
Heading into Training Camp guys like Boom Herron and Donte Moncrief might not have been household names to fans but obviously are contributing now. How key are they in what this team is trying to accomplish this season?
"You know, our owner said something a few weeks ago to me that really struck a cord. So much so that I scribbled it down in his office and made a point to share it with Chuck. Jim said at this point in the season we need to "mine more gold". That pretty much means we know the return we have gotten and will get from most of the guys we've been around for the duration but it's those players who haven't had opportunities that are just waiting to break out that could yield big returns for us moving forward and into the post season. I think we are finding that out with a number of our young players that are starting to really contribute for us in key areas and showing exactly why we drafted or acquired them. It's just a reminder that we can't settle for "ordinary" at any position and choose to live with it because that kind of mindset will send you home real fast in the post season. We've said since training camp it doesn't matter who you are or how we acquired you, the expectation is for everyone is to play at a winning level but ideally be trending towards a championship level of play come playoff time."
What can you say for the type of season that Adam Vinatieri is having at the age of 41 and just how important was it to re-sign him this past offseason?
"Remarkable, but really not that surprising once you get to know the person and the pro. Re-signing both he and Pat has been essential to the success of our special teams this year. He and Pat are the best tandem I've been around in this league and I really cannot think of a better pair when it comes to talent, consistent production and the way they grind."
With a two-game lead in the AFC South, what do you want to see from your team in the final quarter of the season in trying to defend the division and ultimately play ascending football in December?
"Obviously, clean up the turnovers and penalties. It's imperative if we want to compete with those top teams down the road, we have to clean those up. We've been outstanding in the past in those two areas so we know we're more than capable of fixing that."
Coach Pagano always talks about the priority of winning the division. To see the type of dominance the team has have had in the South over the last two years, how proud are you in seeing that?
"It's always the first goal and our head coach does a good job of ingraining that in the players. I feel AFC South banners and winning at home have to be a constant expectation for our program. I know our owner expects nothing less."