Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson took his weekly questions on the ‘Colts Roundtable Live’ that airs on 1070 The Fan and is moderated by longtime radio play-by-play voice Bob Lamey.
One of the most interesting questions was from a caller, who asked about the role that advanced statistics play in the Colts front office–specifically referencing the role of John Park, who was recently hired by Grigson as the team’s new head of football research and analytics.
There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Park’s presence with the team and how the front office is planning on using some of these newfound advanced statistics and analytics going forward.
However, Grigson did his best to answer without disclosing too much detail:
"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“Great question, Jake (the caller),” answered Grigson on Monday’s program. “You know I think in terms of analytics, we did hire an analytics expert out of the league office, and it’s something that I feel like is evolving. Myself on the football end, we’re trying to find different applications that can help our scouting process, help us maybe be more streamlined at certain position groups.”“Kind of be able to bring the coaches into the equation on that exactly what they’re looking for. We’ve done some things just in terms of the waiver wire to where we can quickly, as soon as that wire comes out, players can go into our database, and we can kind of pick out guys that fit the traits the coaches are looking for. What we’re looking for in the scouting end. And then all the intangible things that we have blended in from the scouting reports from college even.”“So with the ‘next gen’ stats as well from the league we’re getting, the miles per hour is something we look at. Because a lot of times , when you’re tracking that, you can tell if a guy is getting well. If he needs more rest. It’s really kind of a new frontier, and again, we’re just trying to use applications that pretty much don’t waste our time, but can help us get from Point A to Point B better, but that also can aid in the scouting process to help us get the players to win a championship.”"
Obviously, the Colts have come a long way in utilizing these ‘next generation stats’, as it wasn’t too long ago that ESPN listed the franchise as one of the “skeptics” of analytics.
While advanced stats shouldn’t be the ‘all-be’ for player evaluation, they are a useful tool that can be used in combination with film and other basic stats. Clearly, websites such as Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders have already gained national popularity among fans, teams, media, and NFL agents alike.
If nothing else, it’s another evaluation metric that the Colts have at their disposal to ‘streamline’ some of their scouting and roster maneuvering.