Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has opened up on all manner of issues this week and the relationship between his GM and head coach was a big one.
A week before the season ended it looked like coach Chuck Pagano was going to be shown the door and that general manager Ryan Grigson might follow him out. At that point, we’d heard about a monumental rift between the two and positively toxic relationship.
Then the two sat down with Irsay for the better part of a day and apparently worked out their issues. The trio then held a late night press conference to announce a four year extension for Pagano and sort of address the recent reports. Of course everything was completely denied.
Irsay has recently been speaking on all manner of things from Peyton Manning retiring as a Colt, Andrew Luck‘s upcoming contract extension and his recovered kidney, and even Marvin Harrison‘s Hall of Fame chances.
Irsay’s also talked about that day with Pagano and Grigson in early January. Mike Wells at ESPN had more on this meeting straight from Irsay himself.
"“It was a question of making sure there was clear communication,” Irsay said. “If someone had a problem with something someone was doing, make sure you bring it up and clear the air immediately and don’t just let it slide and simmer underneath you. Again, you like to have a little tension in your organization. You like to have two people with vision and they’re going to fight for it. I really think it came together in an incredibly good way. I think all day Monday afternoon and early evening [on Jan. 4] was very important for those guys.”"
From all the leaked reports it sounded as if Irsay let the situation between these two get out of hand. There were a few power control moments that Irsay ultimately sided with Grigson on early and it set the tone for the latter’s relationship with Pagano. Frankly, it was well overdue that those two sit down and talk with “dad” and work out their issues. It’s something that really should have happened before the 2015 season began.
"“What I did with those guys was, ‘You guys have to communicate clearly on how you have a feeling on things,’” Irsay said. “Little things sometimes are big things. They talk about fight or flight. Well Ryan is more fight, Chuck is more flight. Sometimes you don’t have clear communication and that can lead to a little bit of tension under the carpet.”“They have to reach deep and realize how hard it is to win and you can’t take short cuts or let emotions sway your decisions,” Irsay said. “That’s a little bit more with Chuck because he’s such a relationship guy. He’s proven it to me when he made the move with [Rob Chudzinski] over Pep [Hamilton as offensive coordinator] and then he looked at his coaching staff, some of those guys he was really close to, and it was hard for him. But he moved forward from it. I really like the guys we’ve added.”"
If the Colts are going to have success with Grigson and Pagano at the helm, and there are plenty who are skeptical that they can, then they have to be on the same page with one another. There has to be a clear direction for this team from personnel to scheme to game planning. Those are all three areas where management has failed Irsay over the past four years.
Perhaps that little talk with Irsay was enough to solve all of Pagano and Grigson’s issues. Maybe this is the first sign that the Colts have turned a corner that will lead them to greater success in the future.