With the way this season has unfolded, it is now assumed that Chuck Pagano will be out of a job as early as New Year’s Day. Now that the rumor mill surrounding his replacement is at full steam, it’s worth asking what type of coach the team is looking for.
While there were some bright spots in Chuck’s tenure, his time in Indianapolis has left a lot to be desired. Starting with the team in 2012, he has gone 52-42. The Colts have made the playoffs three times under his watch, but 2017 will be the third consecutive season that the team watches January games from their couches.
Everyone is in agreement that a change is in order. As I wrote back in October, there have been times during this season where everyone would have understood if they moved on. Doing so would have hit the reset button in the middle of a season that was already going nowhere. It was obvious very early on that a playoff berth was out of the question. With that being the case, it is puzzling why they didn’t pull the plug mid-season.
If firing Pagano somehow made the team perform worse, it wouldn’t be a big deal because there would theoretically be nothing to lose. Now that the season is over, any new coach will get a fresh start with the personnel this offseason, but that also means the players will be more freshly removed from Pagano’s system.
This is not a major deal with regards to the Colts’ road to recovery, but I find it to be worth considering. With the end of the season in sight, the question should not be “who is the best coach on the market?” It should be “who is the best coach on the market that fits our vision for the future?”
It comes down to what type of team the front office thinks can get back to the Super Bowl.
When the Colts brought Pagano to town, they were interested in his defensive expertise. He had served as John Harbaugh’s Defensive Coordinator in Baltimore, and the Colts were clearly attempting to distance themselves from years of defensive mediocrity. The team’s defensive performance has definitely taken steps forward under Pagano, but not to the degree management likely dreamed of.
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Now that he is out the door, one must wonder what the Colts are looking for. With Andrew Luck set to return in 2018, most would feel confident in saying that offense will not be the Colts’ weak spot next season. As long as they maintain a serviceable receiving corps for Luck, things should be okay on that side of the ball.
If that is the case, does it make more sense for the Colts to hire another defensive-minded coach? Some would distance themselves from that idea, fearing a repeat of Pagano’s tenure.
This is likely an unfounded fear, as Pagano’s lack of success probably stems more from poor decision-making and flawed intuition. If the Colts are indeed searching for a defensive mind, they’re missing out on other qualified candidates. Josh McDaniels, for example, will surely be in line for a head coaching position. Making this decision based on the candidate’s current role could mean missing out on some good coaching options.
If the desire is to continue shoring up the defense with a defensively-minded head coach, there are plenty of candidates on the market this offseason. Mike Vrabel of Houston has come up as a possible candidate, as well as Matt Patricia of New England. There are many others that we’ve covered here at Horseshoe Heroes, but this all goes to say that there are plenty of options out there.
Here’s hoping that whoever they hire is ready to hit the ground running because fans and players alike are nauseated by the mediocrity of recent years.