Indianapolis Colts leaving fans in limbo on direction of the team

The Indianapolis Colts season has effectively been over for nearly a month now, and after the official end we have no idea what the direction of the franchise is going to be. The team remains quiet, leaving fans to speculate about the Colts’ next move.

The Colts are flying under the radar as the most inept franchise in the NFL. ANd that includes the Bills (where the GM didn’t know why the coach was fired) and the 49ers (where owner Jed York said you can’t fire the owner, and ensured no talented front office staff would ever work for him).

The Colts have had weeks to figure out what they were going to do in 2017. Owner Jim Irsay clearly isn’t able to make up his mind and is leaving the media and fans to speculate on the team going forward. Will he trudge forward with mediocrity or decide to take this team in a new direction?

On Monday, coach Chuck Pagano held a press conference to wrap up the season. After a 15-minute filibuster where he talked about faith and belief as motivating factors, he answered a few questions before the Colts PR staff abruptly ended the conference. That led to one media member being caught on audio saying “what the f—?”

That was pretty much the reaction from fans to Pagano’s presser as well. It was a word salad of cliches and half answers. When asked if he thought the Colts had the talent for a team better than 8-8, Pagano paused and took a sip of water, then said it was an interesting question. He pretty much said no with his non-answer, effectively throwing GM Ryan Grigson under the bus.

So the Colts gave a rushed press conference, where Pagano said he felt he would keep his job (despite not having met with Irsay yet). A day later and we still have no idea if the Colts are going to make any changes.

What we learned in 2016 is that 2015 wasn’t a fluke and wasn’t due to solely to Andrew Luck being hurt. And over the past five years we’ve seen all of the same mistakes play out for this team. Sunday’s win over the Jaguars was basically the entire Pagano-era in a nutshell: come out flat, fall behind early, and hope Luck bails you out.

Irsay has stressed continuity over the past few years (something Pagano echoed yesterday, because he likes his job) but at this point continuity means going 8-8. There is nothing to indicate that A) Grigson knows how to find talent, or B) that Pagano knows how to coach and develop said talent. Neither have any clue as to how to right the ship and that is the fundamental problem.

Keeping these two doesn’t make sense, it is the definition of insanity. Pagano thinks he can win games with the power of positive thinking. And Grigson, well, we don’t know what Grigson thinks because he hasn’t had a press conference for a long time. Irsay wants to be in contention every year, and that clearly isn’t happening with these two in charge.

It feels as if Irsay is trying desperately to make a point with the current staff, that the Bill Polian-era underperformed and this more balanced approach will be better. Irsay talked at the time about “Star Wars numbers” and it was clear he was upset about only one title in the Peyton Manning years. But at least the GM knew what he was doing and consistently drafted well (for the most part).

Irsay also found a coach who effectively knew how to motivate players and gameplan. Remember all of those times the Colts took the field and looked unprepared under Tony Dungy (or even Jim Caldwell)? Neither do I.

Fans are threatening to tune out the Colts or drop their season tickets in droves unless change is made. Normally an owner really shouldn’t listen to the fans, but in this case it is clear that the men in change can’t get the job done.

How many more years of mediocrity will it take for Irsay to make a change? How many years of Luck’s prime does he want to waste before enough is enough? How much more time will the fans donate to this team before they become completely apathetic?

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