The Indianapolis Colts are going to be looking for a new coach in 2016, but the process doesn’t make sense.
We’ve learned a lot about the culture, coaching, and front office staff of the Colts during the 2015 season. Simply put, it sucks.
The culture seems to be a blame game where one party is shifting the season’s failings to another (even the players are at fault). The coaching staff doesn’t seem to know what it is doing from game to game and has no idea what their team’s identity is. The front office staff, namely GM Ryan Grigson, has blundered multiple personnel moves and created an unhealthy environment to build a team.
On Thursday, we learned that there is a “toxic” relationship between coach Chuck Pagano and Grigson. It is reportedly so bad that the two rarely speak to each other. This fits with what we’ve been hearing about the strained relationship between the two starting before the season.
Both men have plenty of faults and can share the blame for the 2015 season. Most of Grigson’s moves in free agency and the draft haven’t panned out and he’s been meddling with the starting lineup for years. Pagano struggles to game plan effectively at times and his team’s play has been inconsistent for the past three seasons.
More reports leaked out of the Colts Complex stating that Pagano isn’t likely to be retained following the 2015 season. This isn’t a surprise as it was clear he was coaching for his job all season. Pagano’s contract is up and the Colts merely won’t re-sign him as head coach. There’s a chance that even if they did offer him a contract, he would decline it to get away from Grigson.
More puzzling however is that Grigson could be retained at least through the search for a new head coach.
This move makes zero sense. If team owner Jim Irsay has any doubts about Grigson (and it sounds like he does with this report) then he should fire him now. Grigson has one more year left on his contract.
It also implies that Grigson could get one more year after finding a new head coach. That means that the Colts could have a new coach in 2016, see Grigson fired following next season, and the new GM come to Indy and clean house resulting in yet another new coach for 2017.
That is exactly the kind of mismanagement that kills the development of a franchise (and quarterback) and leads them down the path towards mediocrity.
It is also possible that Irsay is merely giving Grigson a chance to make a splash with a new coaching hire. There is the slim possibility that he could bring in an intriguing new coach next season, and if he can’t, then Irsay will let him go and start over. However this would ultimately waste a lot of time and the Colts might miss out on a good future coach.
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However, rumors persist that Grigson is a bit of a tyrant in the front office and many people in the NFL don’t want to work with him. Some have gone as far to say that had Bruce Arians not been given the Arizona job, he would have left anyway to get away from Grigson.
But that doesn’t mean that some young, talented coordinator with dreams of being a head coach wouldn’t come to Indianapolis, especially when you have a quarterback like Andrew Luck.
We’ll know a lot more in just a few days, but right now it feels like the Colts are drifting towards waters occupied by the likes of Cleveland and Jacksonville.