INDIANAPOLIS – As Ryan Grigson met the media late last week, he did so underneath banners of excellence inside the Colts indoor practice facility.
Grigson was peppered with questions from all angles and the common theme in the general manager's answers all came back to trying to add to the banners that hang at the south end of the field.
"We're going in the right direction," Grigson said prior to the Colts win on Monday Night Football.
"I think we've had to learn some hard lessons obviously along the way. We've got to still continue to try to put our best four quarters together, but we're trying to play championship football. Individually, playing at a championship level is the goal. We have to at least play winning football and be trending towards playing championship football. We try to always preach that, let that be known because everything comes down to wins for our owner and that's the approach we have to take. You have to play winning football and be trending towards playing championship football across the board if we want to be in this thing."
In speaking after the Colts 51-34 loss to the Steelers, Grigson promised that the Colts would "channel the anger, aggression and disappointment" from that defeat into something positive.
Those words came to life earlier this week when the Colts looked like the team that had won five straight games earlier in the season.
Against the Giants, the offense continued to play like one of the best in the league with an elite passing attack so impressive at involving a plethora of skill players.
On the other side of the ball, the defense watched a couple of young rookies step up with Zach Kerr and Jonathan Newsome helping Greg Manusky's unit keep the Giants to just 4-of-16 on third down.
Grigson has liked what he's seen from the Colts 2014 rookie class, a group that includes six undrafted guys who have dressed in virtually every game this season.
"I'm very happy that all our draft picks pretty much are playing and contributing," Grigson says. "I see (seventh-round pick) Ulrick John getting bigger in the weight room. I thought he did an admirable job against the ones from New York (in the preseason) before he broke his leg.
"Even though we had a small group (five draft picks), I'm real happy with the direction they're headed."
On Monday, there was the team Grigson has built channeling a quality envied by every NFL team.
The Colts followed up a loss with a win for the 12th time in 13 chances during the Grigson era.
They will return from the bye week with all eyes descending on Lucas Oil Stadium, when the Colts (6-3) welcome the Patriots (7-2) for Sunday Night Football.
It's another step, albeit a massive one, for the Colts to show why they belong near the top of the competitive AFC.
"We went into the season, every season, thinking that we can win a championship. I don't know why you get up every morning if you don't believe that," the Colts GM says.
"This league is about peaking at the right time, getting your playmakers in positions to make plays, matchups, and then of course that ball in January or February, a lot of times it comes down to those physical matchups, one-on-one, if you can beat the guy across from you. But I feel like this is a championship-caliber team. We just have to be more consistent, and like I said keep learning from our mistakes, our losses and so forth, and put together four quarters like we have a couple times this year."
Game highlights from the Colts win over the Giants on Monday Night Football!