The Indianapolis Colts received feedback from their offseason over the span of the last few months. ESPN Staff Writer Bill Barnwell gave the Colts a grade of a B for their 2016 offseason.
The Indianapolis Colts went into this past offseason with some serious questions to answer. The team had just finished the regular season with eight total wins, resulting in the club missing out on the postseason for just the second time in 14 years. Quarterback Andrew Luck had missed extensive time due to injuries that could be said to be due to a leaky offensive line.
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The Colts’ defense was also atrocious in 2015 — ranking 26th in the league as they allowed opposing teams to average 379.1 yards per game. After a rather quiet free agency period from the Colts and a quality draft on paper, the team looks to be heading in the right direction as the 2016 season approaches.
Barnwell highlighted both what went right and wrong for the Colts during their recent offseason period. Here’s what he had to say regarding what Indy did right:
"They stopped acting like the Colts. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson shoved in all his chips last offseason in an attempt to push the Colts over the threshold and into a Super Bowl. His moves backfired spectacularly, as veterans such as Andre Johnson and Trent Cole failed to make any sort of impact. It was the third consecutive offseason in which Grigson had spent heavily in free agency to try to build a team around Luck, and truthfully, the team was left with little to show for its endeavors. The Colts were still dependent upon Luck, and when the oft-battered quarterback finally succumbed to injury, Indy collapsed."
Barnwell continued his praise:
"It’s promising in a way, then, that Grigson appeared to change paths this offseason. Instead of firing more of his free-agent bullets, the Colts mostly sat out the free-agent period, re-signing Dwayne Allen while making modest investments in Patrick Robinson and Robert Turbin. As a result of staying away from free agency and letting Coby Fleener leave, the Colts will likely get a fourth-round compensatory pick, the first time Grigson has generated a comp pick before the seventh round during his time at the helm. They even traded down during the draft to acquire additional picks. All of this is promising if you’re a Colts fan hoping Grigson doesn’t make the same mistakes."
While Barnwell highlighted the savvy moves made by Grigson over the last three months, he was critical of one of Irsay’s big decisions at the conclusion of the 2015 season in his ‘what went wrong’ category.
"They retained both Grigson (and Chuck Pagano). It might be a little unfair to suggest that Grigson should have been fired, given how he did dramatically shift his tactics this offseason, but it’s also hard to argue that the Colts have done very much to surround Luck with talent during his time at the helm. They’ve had one of the biggest bargains in the league on their books over the past four seasons in what has almost surely been the easiest division in football, and they don’t have a ton to show for it."
One of Grigson’s biggest flaws as a GM has been his inability to consistently provide Luck with a strong supporting cast. Aside from this year’s draft, Grigson has always tried to outsmart others with some selections — leading to him whiffing on the picks more often than not.
Barnwell addressed the team’s situation involving head coach Chuck Pagano last season:
"If you want to argue that the Colts should have fired Pagano, it’s going to revolve around that famously terrible fake punt against the Patriots (which seemed to be a combination of player error and, strangely for Pagano, hyper-aggressiveness) and the idea that a new general manager will want to pick his head coach. There wouldn’t have been many voices against firing Pagano if the Colts had done it in January, but I don’t think it was necessarily the wrong move to retain their head coach. If Indianapolis continues to run in place, though, Jim Irsay’s decision to retain both his coach and general manager this January might look like the basis for another wasted season 12 months from now."
Barnwell goes on to explain how the next move the team needs to make is to re-sign Luck to a contract extension for the upcoming season.
With Grigson perhaps saving a little bit of face with the recently passed NFL Draft, the Colts could be poised for a successful campaign in 2016.
As we know though from last year, Super Bowls aren’t won in the offseason, however.