New Colts GM feels butterflies before 1st game

New Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson concedes he has

more than a few butterflies as the Colts wrap up preparations for

their preseason opener with the St. Louis Rams.

Grigson, who has spent the last nine years serving in a variety

of front-office and scouting positions with the Philadelphia

Eagles, will be watching his own team take the field for the first

time Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Hired as the Colts’ general manager Jan. 11, replacing Bill and

Chris Polian, Grigson is one of several new faces in the team’s

front office and coaching staff.

”It’s excitement. There’s always the fear of the unknown, so to

speak,” he said Friday. ”I feel confident that, at this point, I

know that we’ll come out and play hard.

”I have butterflies. I’m not going to lie. We’ve come such a

long way in this whole process. To actually see the product on the

field against another team, a different color jersey, is exciting.

I can’t fake that.”

There’s been a near complete culture change in Indianapolis

since Grigson took over the reins of the franchise seven months

ago.

Longtime veterans, such as quarterback Peyton Manning and tight

end Dallas Clark, have moved on. Former coach Jim Caldwell is now

the Baltimore Ravens’ quarterbacks coach. Chuck Pagano, the Ravens’

ex-defensive coordinator, is now the Colts’ coach.

And Indianapolis selected former Stanford quarterback Andrew

Luck with the first pick in last April’s draft.

That wasn’t the only change. There are about 50 players on the

Colts’ training camp roster who weren’t with the team at the end of

the 2011 season.

Owner Jim Irsay gave Grigson the responsibility of rebuilding a

franchise that had made 10 straight postseason appearances under

Bill Polian’s guidance.

The Colts, however, went 2-14 last season, tied for worst in the

league, after Manning got hurt.

”I’m not really following anybody’s template. I’m really just

kind of keeping it simple. I will always explore anything that

makes us better,” Grigson said. ”And I think my actions speak to

that. We need to keep doing that.”

The Colts’ revival depends largely on the maturation of Luck,

who has been impressive during the first two weeks of training

camp.

”He really is what we thought he was. We just have to get him

in front of some other folks and see how he responds,” Grigson

said. ”The one thing that you can tell from his body language,

from how he reacts on the field, from how he does things, he’s his

harshest critic. Nobody is going to be able to push his buttons as

hard as he pushes his own buttons. That’s evidence that he wants to

be great. He wants to make every completion. He wants to complete

every pass. And that’s good to see.”

Indianapolis’ first-team offense is tentatively scheduled to be

on the field for 20 to 25 plays Sunday, although offensive

coordinator Bruce Arians has hinted that could change.

”I’m so looking towards Sunday, just to see everybody come

together and do things. The offensive line. The defensive line. See

how they play and see how we do against the run. There’s a lot of

little things in the back of my mind,” Grigson said. ”I’m looking

forward to see. But it’s still brand new. It’s just a blank piece

of paper and we’re just filling every line in as we go here day by

day.”