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Jim Irsay: Colts not planning to make wholesale changes

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Colts owner Jim Irsay, still upset over last week's loss, has the benefit of taking the long-range view. Yes, he's frustrated at the loss to the Texans. Yes, his team likely needs to run the table to make the playoffs.

But no, heading into the home stretch of the season, he's not planning on wholesale changes. For the second year in a row, while many in the public assume the axes will swing, Irsay isn't so sure.

"I would say it would be unlikely for any changes to occur, honestly," Irsay told NFL.com earlier this week during a break in the league meetings in Houston. "It's unlikely, but look, we'll see when we sit down and thoroughly vet the season ... We'll see what happens. Obviously it's been a disappointing week coming off that loss, but we will get ready for the Vikings and get to 9-7 and see what happens. There's still hope but we obviously have to win the next three games to maintain that."

In the next breath, Irsay said he believes the team is "close" and that "we'll get there."

Faced with the prospect of missing the playoffs two years in a row, Irsay spoke after being asked specifically about GM Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano. Last year, after a rumor-filled, headline-grabbing season, Irsay did the unexpected and gave Pagano and Grigson extensions. They changed out some coaches and vowed to work together, while the team changed their focus to drafting and developing. It was a shift toward fewer big-name free agents and more building for the long haul. That's one reason why Irsay doesn't plan on pulling the plug on the Pagano-Grigson regime just yet. He did say he'll see what happens in end-of-the-year meetings, but sounded certain to avoid blowing it up.

"If you think you can improve your football team, if you think you can do better, if you have a vision as an owner even when you're having some success, then you think you can make a move that benefits you, you do it," Irsay said. "But I also believe if you look at what happened in our market for in the five years in the Andrew Luck era, then you say let's go back to Peyton Manning's first five years, you have two losing seasons and no playoff wins."

He's right.

Comparing Luck's teams to Manning's (with coach Tony Dungy and Bill Polian) has Luck (and the Grigson/Pagano regime) coming out on the positive end.

From 1998 to 2002 with Manning, the Colts were 42-38 (.525) with 24.1 points per game, one division title and no playoff wins. From 2012 to 2016 with Luck, the Colts were 47-30 (.610) with 24.2 points per game, two division titles (so far) and three playoff wins. In his first 67 starts, Luck has more wins, threw for more yards, had more touchdowns against fewer interceptions, and had a higher passer rating than Manning.

"We compete against ourselves and it's tough," Irsay said. "But our administration ... is obviously a Hall of Fame administration. I could pull out the articles and let you see them, what they (were) writing in '02 and early '03 in the spring. Peyton went through the same thing that we did ... as soon as you have success, you're competing against yourself. This was an extremely disappointing loss, but right now, there's not focus on change or anything like that. There's focus on getting better."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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