The Colts have taken another step toward cleaning the slate entirely as a new era approaches in Indianapolis, with general manager Ryan Grigson relieving head coach Jim Caldwell of his duties on Tuesday.
The only surprising aspect of this development, from our standpoint, is that Caldwell survived for over two weeks after the season ended and nearly a week after Grigson was named the new GM.
And this has very little to do with 2-14. No, Vince Lombardi couldn’t have won more than a handful of games with a Peyton Manning-less, injury-riddled Colts team in 2011. That was on Bill Polian, whose Indy career met the guillotine on Black Monday.
This has to do with the fact that the Colts need a breath of fresh air as a new era arrives. No decision has been made yet (at least publicly) on Manning’s future, but it’s almost a given that the team will be drafting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the top pick of April’s draft. That means Indy will be entering a period of transition.
It’ll make that transition a whole lot easier with Grigson having his own guy — someone he’ll identify as a prime candidate, interview and hire personally — running the roster on a day-to-day basis, rather than a man who stinks of the previous era.
Caldwell’s considered to be one of the best dudes in professional football, but he rode Tony Dungy’s coattail from Tampa to Indy and right into his first professional head-coaching role. He inherited a Super Bowl team in 2009 — one that regressed each season during his three-year reign, which was lowlighted by a throng of butchered in-game decisions.
And while some figured Caldwell might survive because of his connection to Manning, that ultimately wasn’t enough. This is an indication that Jim Irsay, Grigson and the Colts organization is ready to turn a new corner, and while they’re too polite to ditch Manning right now, they are ready to move on with or without anyone from the glory days.