Will Colts Blame Pagano or Grigson if Team Fails?


Back in 2012, Jim Irsay decided to usher in a new era with the Indianapolis Colts. He wiped away the overwhelming majority of the old regime by firing Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell in addition to cutting Peyton Manning.

General manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano were brought in to toughen up the team. To build a more balanced football squad that wasn’t solely reliant on the brilliance of one player.

Dec 10, 2014; Irving, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay at the NFL meetings at Las Colinas Four Seasons Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

What Irsay has gotten over the past three years is a team that is perhaps even more dependent on its quarterback than the previous era. To his credit, Andrew Luck has delivered with a largely subpar roster around him.

The Colts management heads into a make-or-break season as the staff enters their fourth year. Every season we’ve seen this team improve statistically and make it a step further into the the playoffs. Yet there are still times when the team is completely unprepared to play. The Colts continually sign and draft inferior players and force them into starting roles.

We have already heard that Pagano turned down a one year extension, but there is no word on Grigson. The fate of the two should be tied together. Pagano has exceeded expectations on the field, especially when you consider the players that Grigson have given him.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, there might be a disconnect between Pagano and Grigson. There is the possibility that Pagano is being set up to take the fall if the team fails to perform in 2015.

In fairness, we’ve only heard the leak concerning Pagano’s future contract and nothing concerning Grigson. Grigson signed a four year deal back in 2012, with a team-option for a fifth year, same as Pagano. There hasn’t been any indication

Florio’s view of the issue isn’t the hottest of takes (that is reserved for Jason La Canfora, who seems to take this news to the extreme).

So who should Irsay blame if the team falls apart in the playoffs again?

Nov 14, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson before the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Should it be on the coaching and game planning that has resulted in eight blowout losses in the past two seasons (including twice in the playoffs to the same team). Or should it be on the man who traded a first round draft pick for Trent Richardson?

For three straight years the Colts have posted an 11-5 record. They have rotated in overpaid and under talented free agents each season and the results have hardly changed. Aside from the 2012 draft class, the team has largely missed on its picks.

Grigson and Pagano seem to be tied to one another. Their fates appear to be linked together and if one falls, its likely that both will be shown the door. The two can share the blame for the team’s failings over the past few years as both have had their fair share of mistakes.

I can’t imagine a scenario where Pagano is fired but Grigson is allowed to keep his job. Pagano may have his flaws, but he’s managed to produce with a marginally talented defense.

There also isn’t anything to suggest that even if the Colts fail to make the Super Bowl that Pagano and/or Grigson would be fired. All we know right now is that Pagano turned down a contract extension and it is entirely possibly he is merely trying to get into a more lucrative contract with the Colts sooner.

Regardless, it leaves a few questions for the Colts as they prep for OTAs in April and the NFL Draft later that month. Grigson and Pagano need to be on the same page if the Colts are going to have another successful season in 2015.

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