On Saturday, Colts owner Jim Irsay insisted that there were no issues between coach Chuck Pagano and now-former G.M. Ryan Grigson. On Sunday, some evidence contradicting that assertion emerged.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Colts hired a psychologist to help improve the relationship between Pagano and Grigson. The effort focused on ways to improve communications between the two men.
That’s a nice way of saying they didn’t get along in the way that two men who have every reason to find a way to get along should. Whether a result of personality differences or philosophical impasse (Grigson wanted to build for the future and Pagano wanted to win now), two grown men with every reason to treat their jobs like a three-legged race ended up being less effective than a three-legged dog.
“There have been a lot of relationships throughout the years where the General Manager and head coach aren’t the best of friends, but professionally they move forward and excel,” Irsay said Saturday. “Both of these guys have great affection for each other, that may shock you guys, but I will let Chuck speak for himself or Ryan. There is a lot more affection than you guys even know.”
Affection or lack thereof isn’t the issue. The issue is shared accountability. Their failure to be on the same page shows that they each believed it would be possible to survive the firing of the other. Pagano ultimately won; the better approach for any football organization is that both will win or both will lose.
The cockeyed accountability apparently will continue once the new G.M. arrives with a mandate to make changes that could include getting rid of Pagano.
“The new General Manager will come in, evaluate our whole football program and we will see where we are at,” Irsay said. “Again, I hope Chuck can be our coach for many years to come. He is our coach this year. Going through this process and interviewing General Managers and having whoever the new General Manager is come in to work with me to evaluate where we are at will play a big role on that in the long-term.”
The new G.M. will want to hire his own coach. Which means that Pagano already is on notice that 2017 is an up-or-out season for him.
After that, the G.M. and the next coach need to realize that they’re in it together. It’s on Irsay to make sure they realize that failure for one means failure for both, and that the next time a major change is made both the coach and G.M. will be sent packing.