Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts were the chic pick by many to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year. Plenty were seduced by the success they had last season and the additions of the veterans this offseason. The appearance was that they were going all in for a title. Well, as it stands so far, the Colts have sputtered along. They were left for dead going into last weekend against the Broncos and then they seemed to find themselves. They led 17-0 and early in that one. The Broncos made a run to tie the game, but the Colts eventually prevailed in that one. Some thought all was well after that win, but unfortunately, things have just gotten worse for Indianapolis. It was announced on Wednesday that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will be out two to six weeks with a laceration in one of his kidneys and a partial tear of an abdominal muscle. For a team that seemingly may have found itself, this is a blow that is hard to take. They could still win the AFC South because it is the worst division in football. But their title aspirations are now on hold as their franchise quarterback is now on the mend. The blame of this season has fell squarely on the shoulders of head coach Chuck Pagano. And plenty felt he should have been fired after that horribly executed fake punt versus the New England Patriots. But there is one man that is avoiding blame here that needs to be called out.
Ryan Grigson is the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts. And in case many have missed it, he and Pagano’s relationship has grown sour over time. Given the performance of the team this season, it is understandable that Pagano is sitting on a pretty hot seat right now as the coach of the Colts. But let’s not let Grigson off the hook as a general manger. The job of a general manager is to build a team that can be successful. Some were blinded by the thoughts of Luck being the great one that they failed to notice that Grigson never gave him an offensive line. If you look over Luck’s whole career in the NFL, he has always been on the run when he drops back. In fact, Luck probably the most hit quarterback in the last three years. But the numbers that he produced tended to blind many to the issue at hand in Indianapolis on offense: their offensive line. Time after time, the Colts have had chances with Luck to fix the offensive line. And each year, Grigson has failed to do so, instead opting for other pieces like a wide receiver they did not need this year in Phillip Dorsett. Because of moves like this, the franchise quarterback is hurt and the season has not panned out like they thought it would. And to top it all off, the front office is trying to tell Pagano who to play where like they have coached before. If Grigson and crew are doing that, then they may as well fire Pagano now and come down to coach the team. But that’s right. Grigson has never coached before. Instead of him trying to sabotage a coach with his thoughts and input, he may want to provide him with pieces to help him win a title.
The beating that Luck has taken could have been avoided if Grigson would have built up the offensive line over his time there. But now you have to wonder about Luck’s thought process going forward. From all indications, he is going to eventually sign an extension with the Colts to be their franchise quarterback. But if I were him, I would wait to see what happens with Grigson. He has put some talent around Luck, but he has definitely made some moves that make you scratch your head. And if I was Luck, I would have some second thoughts about Grigson being able to assemble a championship team. Because of that, Luck needs to delay the extension and consider other teams. Grigson is just as culpable for this implosion as Pagano is. But the difference is the onus has been placed on Pagano more because of the mistakes he has made and the issues he has with the front office. If Luck is smart, he will exercise his power over the organization. He knows that Colts owner Jim Irsay does not want him to leave the team. And by delaying the extension, Irsay would get the hint that Luck may not want Grigson around. For his career, that would actually be the best thing for him. Luck has been winning games despite what Luck has been doing the entire time he has been there. And Pagano has been guiding this team despite the meddling of Grigson.
The future of the Colts is questionable for the rest of this year. They say Luck will be back in two to six weeks, but that is not for sure. He could take a longer time to recover from these two injuries that he has. By default, the Colts could still win the AFC South. But over the long haul, there is work still to be done on this team. The construction that everyone thought was a process every year looks to be a mess right now. And as much as Pagano is catching flack for this mess, the architect should be catching most of the heat. After all, he paid these players to put on the Colts uniform. Grigson may be the one that is holding Pagano’s feet to the fire, but he actually may be sitting on the hot seat himself. While he is getting ready Pagano’s pink slip, he may want to be looking for his coming soon as well.