It was the headline that almost every Colts fan wanted to see. The Indianapolis Colts fired their General Manager, Ryan Grigson on January 21, 2017. Outside of “Peyton Manning will run for President in 2020”, it was the top headline that most Indy fans were dreaming of for the past few seasons.
The firing came soon after Colts owner, Jim Irsay, said that both head coach, Chuck Pagano, and Grigson would return next season. This prompted outrage from the Colts fan base, and even lead to a fan made sign being left at the team’s practice facility reading, “Stop Wasting Luck”. Irsay must have heard the fans’ cries, or he saw the pitchforks and torches being gathered.
Grigson, to his credit, made a good first impression by drafting quarterback Andrew Luck. In fact, in that 2012 draft, Grigson followed the Luck pick with tight ends Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton in the following three rounds. Although Fleener is now catching passes from Drew Brees in New Orleans, Grigson was showing he was fully committed to putting pieces around Luck to create a high powered offense.
In the following seasons Grigson made a number of questionable moves. Most notably, he whiffed on his 2013 first round pick with linebacker Bjoern Werner, and again in 2015 with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. In both instances, the Colts had a clear need to draft protection for Luck on the offensive line. The move that Grigson will probably be most known for is his decision to trade a first round pick for Trent Richardson. Most Colts fans remember his embarrassing 3.1 yards a carry during his time as a Colt.
Some in the Colts fan base would also like to see Pagano fired as well. It is still possible that Irsay gives his head coach the hook before the start of the season. With an opening at the GM position, whoever Irsay chooses to hire may or may not want Pagano as the head coach. In most situations, a new GM typically wants to have a head coach they favor, that will share the same ideology on how the team should be coached. The relationship between a team’s GM and head coach can be vital to a team’s success. This was a factor in why Grigson and Pagano were not working. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the relationship between Grigson and Pagano was so bad that the team brought in psychologists in an attempt to improve the relationship.
The Grigson firing was long overdue. The new job opening provides a great opportunity with a team that already has a franchise quarterback in place. The new GM must focus on retooling the offensive line to keep Luck on his feet and healthy. The defense also needs a lot of work for this team to contend again. Whether Colts fans can see this happen sooner or later, I believe they can agree that this was the first step in the right direction.