INDIANAPOLIS — It would have been easy for second-year general manager Ryan Grigson to rest on the success of his debut season.
The Indianapolis Colts exceeded all expectations in 2012, improving from 2-14 to 11-5 and earning an AFC Wild Card playoff berth.
But Grigson needs only to look at the wall full of banners commemorating past championships at the team's indoor practice facility to understand he can't let up.
"We want to build off that," he said as Thursday's final mini-camp practice began at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "We set the bar high. Our owner sets the bar high. We expect greatness."
To that end, Grigson imported 11 veteran free agents from other organizations this offseason, and a team that lost a first-round playoff game to the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens last January could have as many as eight new starters.
It's part of an overall philosophy preaching competition.
Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano believe the way to get the best out of the team is by looking to improve each and every day. Whether that means getting extra reps after practice — as several players did when Thursday's session ended some 45 minutes early — or bringing in fresh talent to raise the level of competition in practice — as Grigson did Tuesday with the signing of veteran running back Ahmad Bradshaw — it's a process that never rests.
"I feel like any time you take your nose off the grindstone or you stop and smell the roses, it's not far after that that you're out of this league," Grigson said. "I feel that's the mindset. It's a blue-collar mindset. How can we tell the players to adhere to that kind of thinking and way of life if we're not doing it at the top?"