Can Jim Caldwell Survive Ryan Grigson?


New Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has a couple of daunting decisions staring him in the face right off the bat, and that can be a tough row to hoe.   Keep Peyton Manning, draft Andrew Luck, or do both?  Re-sign Robert Mathis or let him walk?   Buy a house in Carmel or in Fishers?  Of course, if there weren’t a lot of tough choices ahead, the GM chair would never have been vacant, and Grigson would be elsewhere.   As it stands, though, his most immediate decision will be what to do with head coach Jim Caldwell.

For his part, Caldwell brings a very milquetoast career record of 26-22 to the table.   That tally was slammed to the floor by this season’s paltry 2-14 showing, and a large part of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of Bill and Chris Polian, who failed to build a roster that could withstand, in any fashion, the loss of Manning.  On the other hand, a healthy portion of the success that Caldwell enjoyed early on in his head coaching career with the Colts can be attributed to successor and mentor Tony Dungy.   Dungy, along with Bill Polian, helped build the team that won a Super Bowl under Dungy and made it to another with Caldwell at the helm.    That 2009 team could have won big for any number of coaches, but Caldwell happened to be on duty that year.

Which way will Grigson go, then?    It seems clear to me that the Colts have committed to cleaning house, and it’s really hard to see how they can follow through on that mission without lopping off the head of the coaching staff.  Of course, the decision on Caldwell will not be Grigson’s alone, because owner Jim Irsay is the final arbiter of what’s right and wrong for the Colts.

My money is on a swift end to Caldwell’s tenure in Indianapolis.   If it happens, I hope that it happens soon enough to get the new man on board in time for the draft and all the zaniness that lies ahead.