In the Indianapolis Colts‘ Monday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, two trades lingered over the proceedings, casting an increasing shadow of doubt over the man I affectionately like to call “Midas,” Ryan Grigson. The first, as always, was the trade that brought Trent Richardson to Indy one year ago almost to the day. The other was the trade that sent kicker Cody Parkey to Philly last month.
The Parkey trade was memorable because it sounds like a potential episode from the TV show The League, where someone hilariously trades Taco a kicker straight up for a running back and then ends up losing as a result. The running back involved in that trade, David Fluellen, didn’t survive final roster cuts. Parkey did, just barely, and he has since beat out four-year Eagles kicker Alex Henery for the starting job.
It’s hard to know if Grigson should have done something different in this case. Parkey wasn’t going to win the job from timelord Adam Vinatieri. Initially, reports stated that Parkey was cut, before they were amended to show that he was, in fact, traded. But when someone like Parkey comes back to haunt you, it’s hard not to feel like your team might have a voodoo trade curse upon it. Bless him, Parkey even did his former team a solid and missed a relatively close field goal in the first quarter, but it’s that last second game-winner (twice made, after he was properly “iced”) that fans will remember.
Richardson, on the other hand, looked like he was finally putting things together. He ran well, got first downs and even threw in a nifty spin move at one point. But, in addition to his 95 all-purpose yards, he also had two fumbles. Is he messing with Colts fans at this point? Or is he being punk’d and we’re all part of it? Minus the fumbles, Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw had almost identical stats, making the Colts look like one of those frisky Jacksonville Jaguars squads of a few years ago (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). But with the running backs combining for more all-purpose yards than Andrew Luck (Bradshaw and Richardson 191, Luck 172) the game looked like it was being played in one of those mirrors that makes things look stretched, two-dimensional and creepy.
Fans don’t resent Richardson as a player; they resent the price that was paid to acquire him. But as we get deeper into the 2014 season, the question seems to be less “do we have the right talent” than “do we know what to do with the talent we have?” The Colts lost this game more than the Eagles won it, but it’s hard to place the blame on the players.
It’s an age old question: Should a coach mold his squad to run his system, or should he run a system that fits his existing players? This team plays better (and is more entertaining) when they’re coming from behind because they’re playing to the team’s strengths (Andrew Luck) instead of sticking to a system (running into a brick wall). The man behind the curtain in all of this is Midas Grigson. His first two seasons, everything he touched turned to gold and the Colts overachieved, even prospered. Maybe fans always suspected he was handing them pyrite, but it’s still too soon to say for sure.