The MMQB’s Sneak Peek into a Summer Colts Scouting Meeting
The MMQB’s Peter King was allowed access into an Indianapolis Colts scouting department meeting at Anderson University during the team’s training camp this past summer.
Once inside, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson provided him with a rarely seen, in-depth look at the franchise’s scouting department dynamic, his core philosophies, and other interesting tidbits:
"Jun 9, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson watches from the sidelines during minicamp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports“In training camp, Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson pulled back the curtain on one of the more private parts of the NFL business: a meeting between the general manager and his 23-member pro and college scouting staff,” writes King. “Nothing was off limits.”“In a conference room at Anderson University in Indiana, Grigson, as he has done since becoming GM in 2012, had a staff development night. An informal get-together, with pizza and beer and, Grigson hoped, free-flowing football thoughts. It’s one of three times during the year (December scouting meetings and April draft meetings being the others) when the group is together.”“…It was just after 7 on a summer night. After a welcome preamble, Ryan Grigson looked around the room, which was set up as a large table on this college campus an hour northeast of Indianapolis. To his right: his chief lieutenant, Jimmy Raye III, and director of college scouting T.J. McCreight, and senior scouts Dave Razzano and Todd Vasvari, and analytics expert John Park. Across from him: assistant director of college scouting Matt Terpening, scouting intern George Foster (the former top-draft-pick offensive lineman), cap guy Mike Bluem and eastern scout Chad Henry. To his left: a cadre of area scouts and scouting assistants, including Russell. When Grigson spoke—when anyone spoke—the room was silent; a respectful group.”"
While the article is worth a full read in itself, it was interesting to hear that Grigson is looking to model the Colts after winning franchises such as the Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers in particular:
"Jun 7, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts president Ryan Grigson watches the Colts practice during mini camp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports“No matter what your title is,” Grigson said, talking with no notes, “your job is to find talent. At our core, every one of us is a talent evaluator. Our goal here, like the Ravens and the Packers and the great scouting staffs, is to develop greatness in this room—to build from within and develop you as scouts so you can pursue your life goals in this business.”“And, of course, to narrow the talent gap between us and our competition. This will be a slow, organic process. I want us to be old-school—I want scouts who rely on their eyes and their opinions, their strong opinions from what they see and not from what they think the consensus is.”“Grind and find,” added Grigson. “Why do the Packers and the Ravens and the Seahawks do it right more often than not? Continuity. Passion to pick the right guys, no matter where they are. It doesn’t matter if you’re at Pikeville or Alabama. Throw caution to the wind! You see a guy at a small place, text me! Get him on our radar! Those can be the difference-makers!”"
Otherwise, there was a revelation from regional scout Ahmad Russell–who was apparently close to being terminated before later redeeming himself in Grigson’s eyes. Russell, in his 5th year with the Colts, was the one scout Grigson brought along with him originally from the Philadelphia Eagles:
"“Grigson like Russell’s eye, and he liked the fact that he wasn’t a cookie-cutter scout. He had gut feelings on players, which Grigson liked. The GM himself was a gut-feeling kind of scout. But Russell was in trouble because he wasn’t keeping his eye on the prize enough for Grigson’s taste. And so here was Russell laying himself open, taking ownership of his lapses in front of peers who didn’t know this had happened. “It really hurt me to know I’d let down this man who believed in me, and this team that thought enough of me to bring me here,” Russell said.”"
Honestly, I recommend reading the whole article if you have some leisure time on your hands for this weekend. These excerpts really don’t do the whole piece it’s fair justice, and there’s a lot of other interesting discoveries and hidden gems to be found regarding the Colts scouting department.