Chuck Pagano was brought in along with nightmare general manager Ryan Grigson and superstar Andrew Luck. While at first there was success, the Indianapolis Colts have struggled mightily; to a point where Pagano’s job has been in jeopardy several times before. His time with the Colts was at one point marked with strength and inspiration as the Colts made the playoffs through his battle with cancer, but Pagano’s recent actions and the Colts’ recent success (or lack thereof) would suggest otherwise. Indianapolis has to move on from Pagano as soon as possible, before their window closes.
Primarily, the team’s success comes first, and recently the Colts have not performed. In the last two and a half seasons, Indianapolis is 19-23, with two 8-8 seasons and a horrendous 3-7 start. Mediocrity is unacceptable at the NFL level, yet the Colts continuously land smack in the middle of the power rankings.
This year, the Colts are off to a disastrous start, with two wins against teams who have a combined zero wins, and a third against a Steelers team notorious for underplaying bad opponents. Without his quarterback, Pagano is unable to do anything and relies on other teams beating themselves. As of now, they are 26th in offense (YPG) and 29th in defense (also YPG). To say Indy has looked better is an understatement.
— Colts Authority (@ColtsAuthority) November 12, 2017
When defending Pagano, one may argue that he has won before with this team. While this may be true, it was not much of his own doing. Luck carried this team game in and game out, resulting in the playoff appearances and playoff wins. The Stanford product often had to win uphill battles that Pagano put him in. Poor play calling and even worse decision making has gashed Indy before, and it will certainly continue to happen. In game, his game plans have been bad as well. Jacoby Brissett is allergic to throwing the ball to his best receiver, he can’t scheme around a poor offensive line, and the Colts seem clueless in big situations.
Moreover, the chaos that has surrounded the circus of this organization is utterly disgusting. Between Irsay, Pagano, and the now outcasted Ryan Grigson, rumors, fallacies, and confusion spread like wildfire. One infuriating thing Pagano does is he lies about injuries. Saying Luck would most likely return for week one, then two, then three; you get the point. This isn’t the only occasion, though. Vontae Davis, Ryan Kelly, and Quincy Wilson have received similar mistreatments under Pagano.
Unequivocally, lying is bad; this is a fundamental topic we all learn and usually outgrow as we get older. Unfortunately, lacking intelligence is harder to outgrow. Pagano has made his fair share of stupid comments, including his infamous blunder of mixing up a certain Bay Area team and the team he lost to prior to making the statement. This is not excusable, and not something that should be occurring on an NFL team.
This isn’t the only time Pagano has botched an injury situation. Vontae Davis has been dealing with a nasty groin injury. When it first appeared during the preseason, we were all assured that everything would be fine and that a minimal amount of games would be missed. As it developed, the same notion was reiterated. As tensions rose and Colts fans wanted to see their number one corner, Davis came back (too quickly?) and did not play very well. He reinjured his groin and was then cut after being placed on the Injured Reserve. Pagano left us misinformed and bewildered once again.
— Luke Schultheis (@LuckAtLuke) November 12, 2017
Back to the Brissett point. Pagano, a defensive coach, can’t seem to find an offense without his star leading the pack. They made the deal for Brissett in an effort to have a reliable insurance plan for Luck, in case things get worse (they did). Brissett has since thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions, some of them game-clinching for their opponents. A functioning offense has been nonexistent thus far, a large factor in the team’s 2-5 start. As a head coach, you are going to be stronger on one side of the ball basically no matter what. However, quality coaches find a way to maintain both what they are supposed to succeed in and what their supposed weakness is. The team has been beaten by elite and awful defenses alike, leaving little hope for the rest of the season.
Yet another reason Indianapolis has to move on from Pagano is a fairly common occurrence found in underwhelming teams: the loss of the locker room. The biggest issue so far with this was T.Y. Hilton calling out the offensive line after a beatdown to a division rival. This is a bad look for him, his team, and the organization as a whole, and it is Pagano’s job to keep everyone in check. A reason many bad teams crumble as the year goes on is the loss of the locker room, as hostility begins to take over.
In summation, it has been a long, windy, bumpy road for Chuck Pagano, and frankly it is coming to a dead end. Though at first Pagano’s time was filled with success, a clear regression has appeared in Indianapolis. He has exemplified a habit of displaying mendacious behavior, becoming distrusted within the organization, locker room, and with the press as well. The Colts have underperformed across the board. Without a superstar healthy to carry them, a problem in part created by Pagano himself, the Colts have been abysmal.
On both sides of the ball, Indianapolis has struggled, and while it is in part to the lack of talent in Indy, the game planning around the strengths and weaknesses of the Colts and their opponents has been horrid as well. It’s time for the Colts to move on at the head coach position. In doing this, Ballard can hand pick his own candidate, one that can actually help with Andrew Luck and develop a defense. There are options out there more qualified, talented, and beneficial, but that’s an article for another day. It has been a rollercoaster of a half-decade, but it is time to move on.