Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke with the media this week and opened up on a number of topics concerning his team and expectations.
Jim Irsay has plenty to talk about after this season and didn’t hold back in interviews with Gregg Doyel and Dave Calabro. The IndyStar and WTHR reporter sat down with Irsay this week and he spoke about everything from protecting his quarterback to championship expectations and what he calls false reports about his GM.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the Colts after Monday’s press conference where many issues were seemingly swept under the rug. Coach Chuck Pagano was retained, given four more years with the team. GM Ryan Grigson was also given an extension, and the two are now tied together, their rift apparently a thing of the past (or something that didn’t happen at all).
Here’s what Irsay had to say in his interview with Calabro:
"“I want two people that have a vision that are fighting for what they believe in,” Irsay said. “And there are things reported which couldn’t be more from, uh, not being true. Like, Ryan Grigson keep wanted to playing Trent Richardson because he traded a number one for him even when Chuck didn’t want to. Completely false. In fact the opposite. Ryan was saying, which I’ve always told him, was saying the same thing, doesn’t matter where he came from, if he’s an undrafted free agent, the best players the best player, he plays.”"
Irsay can say that, but it flat out doesn’t matchup with what we’ve seen on the field. Why then was Richardson trotted out on the field regularly when anyone with eyes could see he’s not a quality running back? What was the reason for the continued use of Richardson then? The Colts continued to play him even though they were flat out donating downs and drives to their opponents.
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Stephen Holder, Bob Kravitz, Mike Wells, Jay Glazer, and Josina Anderson all reported that there was this monumental rift between Pagano and Grigson. They all had multiple sources confirming the same issues, sources ranging from office staff to players.
Sourcing doesn’t amount to one guy telling you something and you go with it, that’s irresponsible and no news organization is going to let their reporters go to print or TV (or even twitter) with that story. Kravtiz said he spoke with five people, which is generally more than his sourcing requirements probably demand at WTHR (which means someone talking to one guy, regardless of who it is, wouldn’t qualify).
These journalist are all operating at too high a level to simply make up a story. It also fits with rumors we’ve heard for years about Pagano and Grigson.
Irsay also isn’t going to admit to any dysfunction, especially after he doubled down on the same GM and coach. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that Pagano and Grigson sat down with Irsay and worked out their issues. They three spent nearly seven hours together on Monday working everything out.
Irsay covered a range of other topics as well. Speaking with Doyel, Irsay doubled down on his expectations of winning multiple championships with Andrew Luck.
"Irsay’s collection has one Super Bowl trophy, from 2006. He wants more. Soon.“You know I’m demanding with my expectations, and I know the weight of having Andrew Luck,” Irsay was telling me. “We want to get to the promised land, and I’m not shy about saying ‘more than once.’ We’d like to win two world championships when Andrew’s with us over these next 12 to 14 years.”“If you win one,” Irsay was saying, “that’s great. If you win two, it’s Hall of Fame and everybody’s going. And if you win three, you’re starting to get into Never-Never Land.”"
Every owner in the league wants to win a championship, but when you have a QB like Luck, your expectations have to be a bit higher. They were certainly high when Peyton Manning was here, and for good reason.
Part of getting to that championship level involves getting better on the offensive line. Irsay didn’t pull any punches when talking about this unit playing better.
"“We want some leadership,” Irsay says, speaking softly at first, as he does for most of our 18 minutes together Friday evening. “When (offensive line coach from 1998-2009) Howard Mudd was here and it was Jeff Saturday and Tarik Glenn (on the line), the mantra was, ‘No one touches 18! His jersey doesn’t get a spot of dirt on it!’ ”Here, Irsay lifts his voice and pounds the desk as he refers to the quarterback on those Colts teams, Manning. Now his voice returns to normal. I can hear an oboe as Irsay continues.“I mean, it was the pride of the building,” he says. “I can’t tell you the way those offensive linemen carried that pride. We have to get back to that.”"
Wanting better protection is certainly important, but Manning did most of the work for the line. It wasn’t just adjustments, but also Manning getting rid of the ball quickly. The least sacked QBs in the league are also the ones who have the quickest time to release. Luck can do himself a lot of favors by getting rid of the ball faster (and learning to slide and not going all out to get tackles after turnovers).
Irsay is clearly going all in with this team and his expectations have taken a step back in the slightest.