INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Whether missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997-98 results in massive changes with the Indianapolis Colts could well be determined over the final three games.
That was the message owner Jim Irsay delivered Wednesday during a break in the NFL owners meetings.
“Right now, I’m not anticipating making any changes,’’ he told USA Today. “That can always change. It always can when we’re sitting down at the end of the year and evaluate things.
“But I’m just looking and seeing if we can win these next three games and get some luck from the football gods right now.’’
The Colts saw their playoff hopes virtually extinguished in Sunday’s 22-17 loss to the Houston Texans. They take a 6-7 record into Sunday’s road test with the Minnesota Vikings.
With a second straight non-playoff season looming, speculation regarding the job security of general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano has intensified. Seeking continuity, Irsay signed in January Pagano to a four-year contract and gave Grigson a three-year extension, and stressed he was “tying them to the hip.’’
Irsay admitted “we’re disappointed’’ with how the season has unfolded.
“People kind of agree or disagree, but I saw every single game and I know – besides Kansas City – yeah, we could right now (be) 10-3,’’ he said. “That could be us if the ball bounces a little bit differently.
“It’s been that type of year, hasn’t gone our way.’’
Veteran linebacker Robert Mathis used his weekly radio show to question the mental toughness of the Colts.
“The talent is there,’’ he said on his Tuesday radio appearance with WNDE’s Jake Query and Derek Schultz. “We can play with any team when we are on our A game.
“It’s a lot of mental. We are not the strongest mentally as a team. The physical ability, the coaching, the players . . . it’s all there. Mentally we need to get stronger.’’
Pagano declined to offer a response to Mathis’ comments.
“You’d have to ask (Mathis). I didn’t see that or hear that,’’ he said. “You’ll have to ask him.’’
Mathis also described Sunday’s loss to Houston as “not acceptable and it’s certainly not acceptable this year. We are not getting the job done. However you shake it, the blame falls on us. The fans being (upset) is fully acceptable. They pay their hard-earned money to get entertainment and see their team come out and whoop a little tail.
“That didn’t happen. They are disappointed and that’s fully understood . . . Coming back against a team that has what you want . . . which is an AFC South title . . . we can’t rise to the occasion. That’s just unacceptable.
“I’m not bashing, I’m just telling the truth. I’m the leader and that falls on me. I’m the first one the fans should be angry at. If I can take those bullets for my teammates, I’m taking them. I have to do better.’’
Mathis has missed the last two games with a biceps injury, but has a chance to return Sunday at Minnesota.