INDIANAPOLIS —The 2016 regular season is just three days away for the Indianapolis Colts, and team general manager Ryan Grigson has a lot on his mind before the team kicks off against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Grigson joined host Dan Dakich on 1070 The Fan today to discuss a multitude of topics, from his relationship with head coach Chuck Pagano, to the immediate status of the roster heading into the opener, to injured players the team hopes to see back on the field soon, and more
Here are some of the highlights from Grigson's chat with Dakich:
On his relationship with head coach Chuck Pagano, and if he thinks it really matters at this point:
"Of course I do, but you know what? I have to be honest here. It's so far in our past — it's been rehashed so many times — it's nauseating. It's nauseating. And our owner's charged us with focusing on the Detroit Lions, and that's where we're at. That's how we look at it. It's like As The World Turns is over. I mean, it's ridiculous."On letting injured cornerback D'Joun Smith go earlier this week:
"Yeah, it's tough, because he was a third-round pick. He was showing signs of growth, maturity, getting better. And then every time he was out there for a certain amount of time to where you could start actually evaluating him — you know, in the nickel or in one-on-ones — and you start seeing glimmers, then he'd have something else. And it's unfortunate, because you get to a point — especially with how our roster is right now — to where you can't carry anyone. You need able bodies because of where our inactives are and so forth. So in a perfect world, yeah, you have all the time in the world, but we need guys that can go out there and play — and play now."On why Andrew Luck has been listed as "limited" on the injury report this week in practice:
"That's another thing where people don't have a league-wide perspective on how the league works a lot of times. I mean, it's no different from other quarterbacks in the league that say they're limited and they get rest just like Robert Mathis gets rest or other players. You just want guys fresh going into the season, and he's in a new chapter, really, in this organization and on this team, and you just want the guy to be fresh for Sunday."On if Luck has a "frayed labrum," as one outsider speculated earlier in the day:
"No. He's all good. I mean the guy's thrown a zillion balls. The media's seen it. (He was) in Anderson day in and day out throwing a ton of balls with a lot of velocity — even knocking some guys over. I don't know. I guess you could sit there and look for something that's not there, but I'm just saying he's going to be ready for the game this weekend, and we have a plan that we think's best for him, and one he feels good about, and that's what we're doing."On the difficulty of formulating the team's 53-man roster this week with so many injury considerations:
"You know, I think it's another milestone just that we've gone through as a staff, and you just chalk it up as a great learning tool for maybe the future — and hopefully it never happens again. Because it was minute-by-minute, just constant, through the night — we're still, in the personnel department, still kind of getting our second wind — because there's no absolutes. You know, you're trying to predict that this guy's going to come off on the wire and you can claim him, then if you do claim him you don't know if you'll be able to actually get him because of where you're at in the claim. There's just so many unknowns, and then you don't want to actually be sitting there at the end of the day without any able bodies. So you have to take some guys that you think are just OK that could function for a short window until your other players come back. So there's so much thought involved in it, and again, we racked our brains 24-7 to try to enhance our roster the best we could, even though we didn't have a lot of wiggle room to put guys in certain position groups. So it was a real challenge. We've never had anything close to this, because it was up-to-the-minute in real time, trying to get with the trainers, like, 'OK, how did he run?' And you try to pin down those trainers and the medical staff to give you hard answers. But it's so tough, because the guy could have a setback the very next day when you think he's trending in the right direction. You wish you had a crystal ball, but you don't. So you just have to make decisions and hope they're the right ones."On if Henry Anderson is week-to-week:
"Yeah. Definitely. He looks good. I think he looks good. I think he looks good. I mean, I think he even looks quicker. And I hate when guys say that, you know, and they're talking like this guy all of a sudden got more athletic. But I don't know what it is — he looks quicker off the ball, his pass rush looks, I don't know, it looks more developed. He just seems like before he was more of a run-stuffing kind of stout guy that could just push the pocket — he just looks more like an NFL guy on third down now, just the way he's moving around. Which is really encouraging coming off the knee (injury) that he did."On expectations for a return for injured No. 1 cornerback Vontae Davis:
"That one's a tricky one, because it's a corner. If you're a D-lineman or a guard or someone like that, you're going to be able to go out there at 85 (percent) or so forth, but you've seen what's happened in the past when we've put guys out there at corner that aren't all the way back, you know? And sometimes when they're all the way back, they haven't practiced yet and they're not used to the game speed. They haven't tested it yet. And you don't want them testing it on a nine-route in a real game, and then them end up getting hurt again — which has happened before. That's a position where a guy has to have optimal health to be able to function in this league out on the island."On the Colts' situation in the secondary heading into the opener:
"Well, there's unknowns there. But you have to go back to the body of work of those players. I like the fact Antonio Cromartie has a great body of work. I love that he's super competitive and he's very prideful in his game — he believes in himself. He still had 12 passes broken up last year, he can still run, and he's got that length you can't teach. You know, Patrick Robinson is another guy that's been dinged up, but when he's been out there, he's shown the ability to get his hands on balls at practices and in games. We have some new guys here that we've known from the draft and in our pro department that we're familiar with, and even Frankie Williams we got on the practice squad, I thought, had a really nice preseason from Purdue. I think the guys that we have — I'll say this on our back end and some of the unknowns that we have — they'll have a common thread, and they all are good enough athletes to play in this league, but the thing that kind of sets them apart is they're high-level competitors, and a lot of them showed in that Bengals game — even though people think the game doesn't count and it's a waste of time and that kind of stuff — it really, in a way, I think, brought us to where we are now just in terms of the energy. It was refreshing to see all those young guys just playing the way that they did. You know, we have guys that are kind of like-minded in a sense with (Antonio) Morrison and (Curt) Maggitt and even Frankie (Williams) — there's a lot of guys that just go out there and they play lights-out and they play their tails off. And it always looks the same, whether it's practice — their mannerisms and the way they approach it out there — it's just consistent competitiveness."On the development of tight end Mo Alie-Cox, and how some players need second chances if they don't work out in another team's system:
"In terms of Swoope, he was a raw athlete that the only thing I had to go on was some of his rebounds and dunks and the physicality he played with at the University of Miami at Florida. That's all you could go on, because he never played a stitch of football in his life — not even flag. I never asked him; I don't even know if he played in his backyard. I hope he did. But the thing about it is, when you make an investment like that, it's going to take some time. It's going to take some time. And he built his body so now he looks like an NFL player, he's cleaned his hands up, he's shown some toughness and resolve after the catch — you know, he lowers his shoulder, breaks tackles. He's still a work in progress as a blocker. But the other question you were asking: I think you always got to give a guy a second chance, maybe, that was playing out of the scheme somewhere else. Akeem Ayers is one that we're hoping that is someone to what you speak, and that's a guy that's really a 3-4 outside backer that brings a lot of athleticism and bend and versatility to our scheme. And I think he's never really had a chance to come off the edge and use that athleticism. And I like what Ted Monachino's doing and the way he gets guys out there and gets involved, like the minute they step on the grass here on West 56th. That's a welcome site."On what grade he would give the current Colts' roster:
"You know, I think, obviously, we have some game breakers on offense. I mean, I don't even have to name them. We have some players that, in-house, we feel we're real bullish on. Defensively, we've got like 10 to 11 starters from our draft classes that make up half the field for us now. They're young guys, so they're still a work on progress. I don't know if I can put a number on it, because, again, if you're counting Henry (Anderson), that makes me real happy and if he's healthy. If he's not, we're playing somebody else. So I couldn't quantify that exactly. But I think we're going in the right direction, definitely. I think one side of the ball we've been saying — even Mr. Irsay in the offseason — the defense, we have some core players: (Robert) Mathis and Trent (Cole) (have) combined for more sacks than anyone in the league right now. We have some guys that can rush the passer. We have D'Qwell (Jackson), who is kind of the glue of that defense. Then Mike Adams, a guy who makes a play no matter what. He still looks every bit a guy who's in his 20s. And then, the secondary, I think, has a chance once it all comes together to be pretty darn good. So, again, we're not the team we could be just yet. It's going to be a little bit of time before we get those guys back and we see the true complexion, but I like the direction we're headed. We're definitely not where we need to be, to finally answer you. We're not where we need to be."On if he drafted T.J. Green with the expectation that he could start this early:
"Well, not with (Clayton) Geathers here, you know? Probably not, because Mike (Adams) is obviously the guy back there, and it's almost impossible to really start two guys side by side that are that young. Not to say that we wouldn't have to if we were forced to and that we couldn't, but T.J., that's why we took him where we did. We thought there was a chance he would go in (Round) 1. I mean, you look at him physically — and you hate that, in scouting, when guys get enamored with a guy's physical appearance — but have you seen that kid up close yet? … I mean, and then it probably makes everybody feel better when you see him buzz at 4.3 on the actual game tape or on the field with your two eyes and (he) puts a lick someone. So it's not that he's just some finessed former wide receiver back there — that kid's a football player that can cover a heck of a lot of ground. So I think his arrow is really high up, and I think that's it's done him a really tremendous service to get all these reps — I think it's done our team and our team and our organization a tremendous service that he's been able to get those reps. Because you're not going to know if a guy can play until you put him out there."On injured safety Clayton Geathers' status:
"He's running around good out there. He was doing drills yesterday — I'm watching him. And I think he's pretty close, and I think that he's the type of player — that's a tricky injury, though. It really is. We've had a lot guys with those foot injuries like him. And they sometimes are a pain, and they get aggravated and you've got to calm them down. We call it the 'hot paperclip' — you don't want the paperclip to get so hot that it breaks; you want to keep cooling it down so a guy can keep playing. But it doesn't help a young player when he's only practicing here and there. So we want him fully ready to help us in any way that he can, and I think he'll contribute immediately in some way, shape or form."