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
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
”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