INDIANAPOLIS – If it’s up to the Colts front office, the third year better be the charm.
That may not have been the way that Ryan Grigson drew it up when he arrived for his first NFL Combine with the Colts in 2012, but that’s certainly the way he feels now as he took to the podium for his news conference on Friday afternoon.
“For our team as a whole, it’s year three, it’s time for everyone to bring their ‘A Game’,” said Grigson at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday afternoon. “Everyone has to be at the top of their game this season.”
Indeed success the past two seasons under Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano has many in and outside the franchise hoping for big things in 2014. The Colts surprised many in 2012 by going 11-5 and earning a Wild Card spot in the AFC Playoffs. The duplicated that record in 2013, adding an AFC South Title and a playoff game win to a quickly building resume.
While this current Colts regime has always talked Super Bowl since arriving in the winter of 2013, the talks has a bit more backbone to it after a few successful seasons.
“We want to take another step in the right direction,” said Pagano. “We know the expectations are going to be high. It’s where we want them. It’s a conversation we want to be in.”
Refining the team to get them there now becomes the task at hand, thought neither Pagano nor Grigson offered a lot of insight into the team’s thinking early in the free agent process. The biggest names for the Colts to be signed include cornerback Vontae Davis, safety Antoine Bethea, kicker Adam Vinatieri, punter Pat McAfee along with a collection of other that contributed to the team’s recent run.
“We’re optimistic about the process and our game plan. But it is the NFL and while you want to lock everybody up and have everybody here, it’s still the NFL and you can’t have everything,” said Grigson of free agency. “We’re gonna try like heck to get that process worked through.”
Whether that includes a franchise tag on a player is to been seen, according to Grigson, but one person he continues to show faith in is running back Trent Richardson. A hot topic in the media availability with the Colts general manager, Grigson continues to stand behind the trade that he made for the running back in September that gave the team’s first round pick this season to the Cleveland Browns.
“He’s a tough, good, talented football player that has a broad skill set that’s still learning what we do,” said Grigson of Richardson, who said he still has no regrets trading for the running back. “We’re optimistic about his future.”
Both Grigson and Pagano said they are hopeful that many of the starters lost for significant periods of time in the 2013 season-like Donald Thomas, Vick Ballard, Dwayne Allen and Reggie Wayne-will all be ready by the start of spring activities or training camp.
That includes Wayne who at 35 years old will be rehabbing from the most significant injury of his career-a torn ACL suffered against the Broncos in October.