NFL Nation: Jim Caldwell fired

Ryan Grigson’s history and experience could lead him to look to the college ranks for the Colts' next coach.

Grigson worked as a college scout for the St. Louis Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles before graduating to director of college scouting and then director of player personnel for the Eagles.

In those roles and for the bulk of his time working in the NFL, he interacted more with college coaches than pro assistants. He said Tuesday he's got a short list heading into what will be an expansive search. I wonder if it might include another midwestern guy like Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz?

It’s very easy to connect dots from Grigson to Marty Mornhinweg from Andy Reid’s staff or to think he’d look to some sort of connection to his time with the Rams from 1999-2003.

But the search will be much broader than that. We can’t pretend to know who’s on that short list but given his background I'd be surprised if we don't hear a college name surface for the first time in this NFL offseason.

Grigson and, oddly, Caldwell, interviewed former Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo for the team’s defensive coordinator post on Monday.

Grigson was asked today if he’d allow for a college coach as a prime candidate, but he didn’t address that specifically.

He said leadership tops a long list of components the team wants in a new coach.

"We want strong leadership and we want someone that shares this vision in this new era of Colts football," Grigson said. "We want the best man and the best leader and the person that's going to get us where we want to go. And we're going to find that man."

Does Colts' opening impact Dolphins?

January, 17, 2012
The Indianapolis Colts were the latest team to enter the NFL coaching search in 2012. Indianapolis fired head coach Jim Caldwell after a 2-14 season that included the injury to quarterback Peyton Manning.

Does another opening in Indianapolis further impact the Miami Dolphins?

Miami already ran into trouble trying to compete with the St. Louis Rams for veteran head coach Jeff Fisher. The Dolphins lost that battle, as Fisher wanted control over personnel in addition to a potential franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford.

Now, Indianapolis hits the coaching market with Manning currently on the roster and, most importantly, the No. 1 overall pick. That selection will likely be used on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who many feel is the best quarterback prospect to come out of college since Manning. Luck has so much potential that there's been speculation the Colts might trade or release Manning in the offseason. That remains to be seen.

But Indianapolis' next coach will have one or two franchise quarterbacks on the roster. That is something Miami cannot compete with. Matt Moore is a great backup and solid short-term starter. But he is not the Dolphins' long-term solution.

If Miami ends up competing with Indianapolis for the same top candidate, there is a good chance that coach would choose the Colts and Luck over the Dolphins and the No. 8 or No. 9 pick. Miami may want to speed up its search.

One of the few compelling reasons to stick with Jim Caldwell was to keep familiar people in place for Peyton Manning.

So as the Colts announce that Caldwell is out as coach of the Colts, the question right on the heels of who’s next is: What does it mean for Manning?

His $28 million bonus is due in early March and there is no getting around it -- they either have to pay it to keep him under contract or let him go before it’s due to avoid it.

Owner Jim Irsay has said if Manning is healthy and playing in the NFL, he’ll be doing so with the Colts.

But since then, Irsay has fired vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian and hired general manager Ryan Grigson.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Grigson and the Colts pass on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Do they want a $28 million charge and Manning, coming off a third neck surgery in a short span, to be there with Luck?

Grigson will now be hiring a new coach who will be hiring a new coordinator (and presumably a quarterbacks coach) to work with the team’s signal-callers.

The Colts will remain at the forefront of NFL off-the-field news until we see that coach contribute to a decision on Manning.