Ryan Grigson Speaks to Media at NFL Combine (Full Transcript)


Indianapolis Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson spoke to the media on Thursday to address the state of the team and some of the team’s recent off-the-field trouble, as well as the “Deflate-Gate” controversy at the NFL Combine:

Regarding the recent signings of CFL standouts Duron Carter and Ben Heenan:

Grigson: I mean they haven’t played a lick of NFL football yet, so they really have a lot to improve. They played in other leagues. Only one guy played Canadian college ball. Duron barely played in college, so they have their work cut out for them. They both have NFL talent and size, but we wouldn’t have signed them if we didn’t think they had potential, and they both do.

On what the team is looking to work on:

Grigson: You know this time of year is fluid. Anytime of year the roster is fluid. We’re, as you notice, we’ve been making cuts, we’ve been adding players to the 90-man roster. What it is, there’s lots of room. You know we’re continuously making those decisions. We will be making more decisions after what we see this week at the Combine and what is developing in free agency. So after you have your targets and have your meetings and such, which ones are actually viable to get.

Regarding the AFC Championship “Deflate-Gate” controversy against the New England Patriots in this year’s AFC Championship Game: 

Grigson: Listen, you know, earlier in that week, prior to the AFC Championship game, we notified the league of our concerns. We went in to the game and we had some issues. We’re going to do what we can and that’s to participate in the league’s investigation until the Wells report comes out. We have no other course to wait until that investigation comes about. I’m not going to get into specfics. Like I said, the report should have all the specifics. Like I said, I did my job and here we are. Hopefully, you know, everything will come out and everyone will be able to have a clear look at the situation.

Like I said, we had concerns just like I think any General Manager would do, [they] want their team to play on a level playing field, and we took the proper steps to ensure that and it’s up to the league to ensure that happens. Again, if rules were broken, we’ll see…if not, that’s what the investigation is for. We’re just trying to do our jobs in giving our team the best chance to win on a level playing field.

On which free agents the team would like to bring back: 

Grigson: You know it’s tough, you’re looking at…you want, of course you’d like to have all of these guys back. The guys that are in our short and long-term plans based on a lot of different criteria. You know we’d like to have Mike [Adams] back. Obviously, a June signing that goes to the Pro Bowl is a good thing. He never played like he was long in the tooth. He did some really good things for us but you want to try to solidify every position group when you’re trying to win the Super Bowl. You know, basically, when you have the bar set like that, you look at all your needs across the board, and it’s like, “Wow, we need help everywhere”. And that’s at every position, everyone has to play better, we all have to do a better job.

On the recent releases of LaRon Landry, Andrew Jackson, Xavier Nixon, and Shaun Phillips:

Grigson: I mean LaRon and other people that have been mentioned, those are all decisions we make in-house, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to expand on that. There’s a lot of things that come into place when we release anybody. So, there’s team decisions that I don’t think it’s appropriate to tell everyone here.

On how aggressive the team can be this offseason in free agency:

Grigson: I think you have to be agressive no matter what avenue you’re going down to acquire players, even if it’s acquiring CFA’s after the draft, but you can’t just do it for the sake of being aggressive, and just get a name or get whomever, it has to be someone that you think collectively feels will better your team. You know, you don’t always bat a thousand obviously, but you meet, and go over the film, and go over every last bit of information and you hope you hit. So you know, it’s a case by case basis, with each position group but again, at each spot, we’re going to try go get guys that can play at a championship level.

Regarding a sense of urgency with this team going forward:

Grigson: I mean heck yeah, heck yeah, heck yeah…you know I mean we’ve taken a significant step every year. Our bottomline is what our bottomline is, “Can we get better?”. Sure we can. But we’ve made a significant stride every year getting closer to our ultimate goal, that was our ultimate goal in 2012, believe it or not. Like I’ve said many times, I don’t know why you get out of the bed in the morning and work these jobs in this league if you don’t have a belief that you can win it all, I hate to be in that situation. So, that’s all our goal, and that’s what we’re trying to do everyday. Heck, every move we make has that in mind.

What the team needs to do this offseason to improve it’s recent off-the- issues: 

Grigson: Well you know I think we need to do a better job, I need to do a better job. I think the culture is a very good one. We have a strong locker room. I think we have an excellent culture, and we have very good veteran leadership. You know the way Reggie [Wayne] and Robert [Mathis] help to congeal this team from the beginning speaks to the veteran leadership we’ve had in our clubhouse.

Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We need to do a better job, but you guys there’s also risk, reward. There’s also you know, do you take a flyer on a guy who has very little financial risk but loves football and the hope is, that he’ll always buy-in to the culture that you’re presenting to him, which is we think a very good habitat for players to be at their best, to iron out some of their rough edges, and some of them have. But then again, some of the guys we’ve struck out on, I guess we need to do a better job in certain areas, and we will.

Do the Colts have interest in Indiana University running back Tevin Coleman as a prospect and any other local products? 

Grigson: We will exhaust you know every player, especially I always tell the guys we better not miss in our backyard, better not miss in our backyard. Newsome’s one of those guys too, you know if we don’t…I’ll say it, if we dont go ahead and get Jonathan Newsome even though he had some character issues back earlier in his career, there’s a chance we dont win in Denver. He made a critical play in that game, so you can’t have your whole roster littered with guys that have off-the-field stuff, but you also have to, at the same time have football players that know how to play and produce and know how to play this game.

So it’s a difficult balancing act, but it’s my job to see to it, and you know we apologize to our fans and our loyal people here in Indy. We have guys that go off the reservation and make mistakes, but we have roughly 63 guys including the practice squad and so forth and guys that are walking around on I.R., and you know, they all have free will. You know they could be model citizens one day and they do something silly. So, we’re all human and we make mistakes, and it’s hard to have such a definitive model to where you don’t give someone a second chance. You know I think that goes against the whole kind of mantra of what our coach talks about, what our organization speaks on, and what we try to portray as a society. Everyone deserves a second chance, not fifth and sixes.

On Reggie Wayne‘s playing future with the team:

Grigson: Well, we’re still having those discussions. We still have to know if he wants to play. You know there certain guys [including Cory Redding] we’re still waiting to see if they still want to play this game and not, we’re still kind of..there’s a lot of things up in the air at this point, but you know…Reggie [Wayne] is an exceptional player, we don’t even have to go all into that, everyone in this room knows what he means to this franchise, and what he means to this organization.

So we’ll be very careful and do our due diligence on every move we make, even the moves of guys that you didn’t even know were on our practice squad all year. We take move very seriously and have long discussions even on the last man on the practice roster or our 90th man because we’ve had 90th men before become contributors. So we take no spot on the roster lightly.

On whether Robert Mathis is on schedule for a full recovery: 

Grigson: You know the thing is, we’re at the mercy of our doctors. You know, I mean we’re at the mercy of our doctors. With the plan they set forth, with therapy and things like that, as far as I know, Robert’s doing great.

On the future status of running back Vick Ballard:

Grigson: Hey, you know as a rookie, you love what he did and that would be outstanding. You know he’s a very young guy, he still has all the core traits we’re looking for in a runner, he can do all the things we want for a runner to do in this offense. And you don’t have to worry about him for a second because he’s going to work his tail off. He runs hard, he’s got really good feet. He can avoid. He gets tough yards. You know and he makes, the picture right outside our hallway is the one at Tennessee where he makes the corkscrew diving touchdown to win the game at Tennessee. You know I mean he’s so competitive, yet you never hear him say a word. And those are the kind of guys we like.

On the need to improve at the running back position:

Grigson: I mean I think you have to have a running game in this league, especially in December and January. I mean you have to have a running game in December and January, and we have to work hard at achieving that and having the right players involved that can execute this system. So, you know I think that while it’s an important position group, I can sit here and tell you, there’s a lot of position groups that we need to improve on to win a Super Bowl.

I mean you sit there at a great vantage point when after you lose, why you’re losing, and things get magnified. You know, those warts become very magnified when you’re getting your tail kicked. Of when you’re sitting there watching the Super Bowl and seeing how the elite teams do it. So you know to get to an elite level, we obviously have to shake some things up and obviously do things differently and take things to another level across the board in acquiring players, coaching, and anything that we feel needs improvement within our building. We’re going to try to get to the top of the mountain by implementing that attitude throughout.

On acquiring additional pass rushers:

Grigson: I was always brought up if you have 12 pass rushers, give me 13. You know, you can never have enough pass rushers and that’s ‘Scouting 101’. The hard part is actually finding them, and then findings ones that you know, the handful of them that are clean and really good. Clean in, I mean they don’t have any off-the-field, any warts, they’re hard to come by. You sometimes have to gamble later or maybe take a junior that has limited production and that’s where true scouting comes into play.

But I feel like, we have some guys coming back from injury. That, you know, there’s a cluster of guys…you hope just one or two of those guys shake out because we feel like they have some real ability. Of course, you know Mathis, but we have a lot of high hopes for a lot of guys in that position group. But you know if there’s a pass rusher that gets your blood pumping, you know in the draft…you have to consider him, no matter where your needs are.

On whether the team will target the offensive line heavily in the upcoming NFL Draft:

Grigson: Every time, you know you want the best available, we stare at our board and we want the best available. And you know with offensive line, and again, football is won in the trenches. Anytime you start going off the reservation and you start saying, “No, we could do it this way. We could do it that way,” history shows no matter what the scheme starts looking like, this team’s spreading them out, in December and January, it comes down to physical football and believe me, we know about that very well. We’ve learned some hard lessons in that respect.

So it’s won in the trenches, so if you can bolster that offensive and defensive line. You know, that’s why you wish you had 20 picks every year.

On why the team became suspicious regarding the Patriots potentially deflating footballs:

Grigson: I’m not going to get into it. There’s a report and an investigation the league is conducting right now. That, you know will bring to light anything, any issues that were above norm.

What he looks for when evaluating potential cornerback prospects:

Grigson: It’s getting tough because those guys had to be your most elite athletes on the field even 10 years ago. And now, I mean they can’t really put their hands on anybody, so I mean you really have to have tremendous athleticism, anticipation, instincts, and things like that…and recovery speed.

But the movement skills, that’s to me where you start. If you have a stiff guy, depending on your scheme, but if you’re playing man coverage and playing a guy on an island, then that guy has to be able to 1) Be able to press and he has to be able to play off and still have the hips and the movement skills and the acceleration and burst out of his break to do those type of things, to break on the ball. It’s a tough spot, but if you start with a really, really special athlete, I think you’re ahead of the curve.

Feb 19, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson speaks to the media during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports