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Colts continue dramatic change in philosophy with Pagano

Jarret Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Chuck Pagano AP

Peyton Manning said this week that everyone was walking on eggshells at the Colts facility because no one was sure who was going to be fired next.

We know this much: More change is on the way.

Florio broke the news that the Colts have chosen Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano to be their next head coach. (The Colts have since confirmed Pagano is the pick.) Owner Jim Irsay has rapidly overhauled the Colts organization.

The Polian regime is out in the front office, replaced by new G.M. Ryan Grigson. Coach Jim Caldwell has been replaced by Pagano. Any hire was going to put the Colts on a new path as a franchise, but Pagano seems like an especially dramatic shift.

Pagano favors a physical, attacking 3-4 defense. The Colts have built their defenses over the last decade with quicker, smaller players. The Colts will get bigger fast under Pagano.

Pagano displays a great sense of humor when he talks to the media. He comes off as a little brash and outspoken. In demeanor, Pagano is a lot closer to Rex Ryan than Caldwell or Tony Dungy.

Irsay ripped up the Colts blueprint from the last 15 years in three weeks. They are starting from scratch with a new identity.

It’s no wonder that Manning seems to believe he will be the next Colt out the door.

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68 Responses to “Colts continue dramatic change in philosophy with Pagano”
  1. jimmysee says: Jan 25, 2012 5:04 PM

    This will be an exciting football team — in three years.

    Can’t imagine Peyton is anything but gones-ville.

  2. loripetty says: Jan 25, 2012 5:04 PM

    Chuck Pagano is an excellent pick because he has the same tasteful facial hair style as Jim Irsay

  3. bigtganks says: Jan 25, 2012 5:05 PM

    Pagano spent two seasons as defensive backs coach of the Oakland Raiders. In 2006, the Raiders’ pass defensive allowed just 151 yards per game, and total defense just 285. (per Wiki)

    Wow. Wish my Raiders sought him over Allen, (but I still trust McKenzie.)

  4. thegallopingghost says: Jan 25, 2012 5:08 PM

    wonder what they will do with Freeney, who signed a lucrative six year contract in 2007…if they cut him he’ll make a very attractive pick up for a 4-3 team in need of a pass rusher…he still had 8.5 sacks last season.

  5. joshsports6000 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:09 PM

    Colts are going to regret this. Having a coach with a bigger than the people in charge never ends up well. Look where Rex Ryan’s team is going. Hue Jackson is now unemployed. some people are only meant to be coordinators. the most successful coaches are guys like Bellichick, Tomlin, Coughlin, and Harbaughs for a reason.

  6. buffobeel42 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:12 PM

    IS IT JUST ME, OR HAS EVERYONE MISSED THE “BALTIMORE TO INDY MOVE” ANGLE ON THIS STORY? CLEARLY THE COACH FOLLOWED “THE CORRECT PATH TO INDY”. THEY TAKE EVERYTHING BALTIMORE HAS TO OFFER!. JUST KIDDING!

  7. norseyapper says: Jan 25, 2012 5:13 PM

    To accomplish that defensive shift of philosophy and personel it would be really handy to have multiple early draft picks. Hmmmm…how could they do that? Keep Manning, trade the Luck (y) pick for someone else’s entire list of picks?
    Naahhh….

  8. zizzod says: Jan 25, 2012 5:15 PM

    Has anyone asked what Tony Dungy thinks?

  9. chatham10 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:16 PM

    What I like about this hire and all the other hires outside of Jeff Fisher, no longer are they hiring the same former coaches, all new young guys and I think the Bucs would be smart to do the same thing. I think Cowher, Gruden and the others that are on NFL Network better hold on to their present jobs because I think the head coaching jobs are gone.

  10. ingraven says: Jan 25, 2012 5:18 PM

    I love how EVERY D-Coordinator becomes a Head Coach after they leave Baltimore, and for the MOST part do horribly. He’s gona wish he stayed with us. Good luck tho Gano’!!!

  11. mute617 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:18 PM

    Wtf Colts? Haven’t you taken enough from the city of Baltimore already?

  12. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jan 25, 2012 5:18 PM

    The inmate is running the…well you know how it goes. Said here to many thumbs down, watch the buswreck that is Irsay almost play by play…

  13. lolb23 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:20 PM

    I want to make fun of the Colts but this sounds like a decent hire.

    Hopefully Irsay doesn’t screw up the draft and tank this guy.

  14. realnflmaster says: Jan 25, 2012 5:20 PM

    Absolutely amazing hire. No more soft cover-2, and no more soft, tight lipped head coach.

  15. thedonnilhama says: Jan 25, 2012 5:20 PM

    Good hire. He is a breath of fresh air for an organization under Bill Polian. Most Colts fans have complained about team size for the past few years. Ready to play a bigger defense. Good job Mr. Irsay.

  16. ackermanjerry says: Jan 25, 2012 5:22 PM

    … And there was great cheering in Miami and New York.

  17. craigsimsrules says: Jan 25, 2012 5:22 PM

    Payton……. Your FIRED!!!!!

  18. basexc9 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:22 PM

    I don’t understand why you break up what’s been working so well for the Colts this entire decade (except for last year). I have a very, very hard time thinking the Colts win more than 6 games next year, even with Luck throwing the ball.

  19. Justin Kirby says: Jan 25, 2012 5:22 PM

    As a long time Colts fan, regardless of if Manning is playing or not, the Colts have needed a stingier defense for years. The one year the Colts actually had a defense(playoffs 2006) they actually won the superbowl. If Pagano is able to transform the defense, it will take pressure off of a weaker Manning or a rookie Luck.

  20. ackermanjerry says: Jan 25, 2012 5:24 PM

    @craigsimsrules

    Um, it’s spelled Peyton. Just FYI.

  21. lemmam says: Jan 25, 2012 5:28 PM

    this should put to rest the interviews with Tony Dungy. Dungy said he believed Tressel would be the next head coach. Dungy talks a good game but has neither the expertise nor the inside track to know what’s going on in Indy.

  22. phillyphever says: Jan 25, 2012 5:30 PM

    Change that they needed. Wished Lurie would take a page out of Polin’s handbook on how to blow up an organization and start over. Something the Eagles desperately need to do.

  23. plum13sec says: Jan 25, 2012 5:32 PM

    Holy crap where is this franchise going. I have no idea.

  24. daysend564 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:33 PM

    Did someone win the tickets to Superbowl for tweeting this guy’s name?

  25. brutus9448 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:37 PM

    I hate the colts because of their owner and the way they sanbagged all the games last year. I never saw any team lose games on purpose in the NFL until this year with the colts.
    Hopfully Luck will be bust and I’ll bust out laughing.

  26. reed20fence says: Jan 25, 2012 5:47 PM

    Nooooooooo!!!!!!

    WHY GOD, WHY!!?!?!

    If there was a single Ravens fan left not depressed after Sunday, they’re depressed now.

    :o(

  27. irishjugalo says: Jan 25, 2012 5:47 PM

    Payton……. Your FIRED!!!!!

    ************************************

    You can’t spell the name of the QB who has been in the headlines all year long, or properly use contractions? Somebody needs his posting access cut off.

  28. thefnlimit says: Jan 25, 2012 5:48 PM

    So, who won Irsay’s Super Bowl tickets on twitter??

  29. roxtar10 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:50 PM

    It’s no wonder that Manning seems to believe he will be the next Colt out the door.

    —–

    When did Peyton ever say he thought that? Just because you put a link to another article, doesn’t mean you can misquote it so badly.

    I’m sure it’s looking very likely that Peyton will be headed for another city, but to flat out say he seems to believe that like he’s said it already is just maipulative journalism. Rumor site or not, that’s shady at best.

  30. xxwhodatxx says: Jan 25, 2012 5:58 PM

    Everyone knows when the owner is making ALL the decisions you win Super Bowls just ask Jerry Jones.

  31. kpow55 says: Jan 25, 2012 6:16 PM

    Getting all angles covered so Manning can publicly retire w/o much incident.

    Although….. If he’s retiring anyway, I’d rather see him go to the Jets, be viewed as the savior for a bit, Holmes throw the now departed Sanchez further under the bus, and then Manning retires in training camp when it becomes obvious the risk/reward ratio is not in his favor.

    Just watch the J-E-T-S implode a little more.

  32. purple4reak says: Jan 25, 2012 6:16 PM

    realnflmaster says:
    Jan 25, 2012 5:20 PM
    Absolutely amazing hire. No more soft cover-2, and no more soft, tight lipped head coach.
    ————————————————–
    Exactly…Vikes, are you taking notes?

  33. Deb says: Jan 25, 2012 6:18 PM

    Wow. You have to give Irsay credit for having the brass to make definitive changes as soon as he realized his franchise needed an overhaul. That’s a lot more than we can say for Alex Spanos, who seems determined to make Phil Rivers this generation’s Dan Marino, or Jerry Jones, who’s now taken over the role of Al Davis.

  34. maddenisfordorks says: Jan 25, 2012 6:19 PM

    When they reached out to Irsay for comments, he wasn’t able to answer the calls as he was stuck in traffic after the Cyndi Lauper concert.

  35. kelly8791 says: Jan 25, 2012 6:31 PM

    Ummm…anyone remember Tony Dungy? He was a defensive coach too, and the Colts stayed an offensive team.

    And anyone remember where Grigson is from? Hasn’t Philly always been an “offense first” team?

    Irsay is changing things dramatically, right? Defense first, of course. But wait, how does that mesh with the other assumption that Irsay is definitely taking Luck?

    First assumption: Luck is an automatic pick. And we all know that teams build the offense first when they have a Franchise QB. Second: Pagano is a defensive coach, so, obviously, the Colts will build up the defense. All these so-called experts and pundits need to get clue about, if nothing else, what they, themselves, are actually saying.

    Oh ya, another thing. The Ravens defense is built on speed and athleticism first, just like the Colts have been. Ya, they’re bigger than the Colts, but who isn’t? And besides, even the Colts have gotten bigger in recent years.

    Anyway, of course there’s gonna be change, but let’s calm down. Change is a fact of life in the NFL. It happens every year, and most of the time, as they say, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Coaching and management changes don’t mean the wheel is being reinvented. After all, the Polians were axed mainly for personal reasons (that’s a pretty safe assumption), not because something, necessarily, needed fixing.

    All this noise and no one asks the obvious question: couldn’t Irsay be keeping the same blueprint and simply bringing in people to oversee it that he likes better than the guys he had before? I guess not. That would be way too simple for the people who have all the answers.

  36. effedinLA says: Jan 25, 2012 6:42 PM

    Rob Lowe is flabbergasted.

  37. camdenyard says: Jan 25, 2012 6:46 PM

    Well, crap.

    Big loss for the Ravens. But, what else is new. Just another Ravens DC moving to a HC position.

  38. brenenostler says: Jan 25, 2012 6:51 PM

    As a Colts fan, I’m very pleased with this hire. Buf I’m still curious as to how our offense will be handled.

  39. deadeye says: Jan 25, 2012 7:03 PM

    Has Peyton weighed in on this yet?

  40. deadmanwalking47 says: Jan 25, 2012 7:05 PM

    peyton manning wearing the burgundy and gold next seasn,count on it!

  41. surly1n1nd1anapol1s says: Jan 25, 2012 7:07 PM

    Other than speculation this hire doesn’t suggest a Manning departure. If the defense is in need of upgrade then how better to do that with a successful defensive coach? If you believe that Manning runs the offense already, which many claim on this blog, wouldn’t it follow that a drastically improved season is in the offering?

    The starting SS and MLB were injured and out the season. I believe that LB is also a free agent. And his replacement was larger, younger, and cheaper.

    They’d also have the QB of the future on the roster.

    Perhaps Irsay would be crazy to offer a 36 year old HOF QB a $28 million bonus. But have you read his tweets and listened to interviews? He strikes me as exactly the owner who would pay.

  42. deadeye says: Jan 25, 2012 7:11 PM

    “I don’t understand why you break up what’s been working so well for the Colts this entire decade (except for last year).”
    =====================
    Because the decade of them playing well is over. All their key players are in their 30s, and it’s time to rebuild. You don’t 2-14 without a serious lack of talent.

    I have a very, very hard time thinking the Colts win more than 6 games next year, even with Luck throwing the ball.
    =====================
    No one expects them to be any good. Luck will take a few years to get up to speed. The team needs to rebuild on both sides of the ball. They are gonna have a hard time breaking 6 wins for 2 or 3 seasons.

  43. themanchine says: Jan 25, 2012 7:11 PM

    Deb says:
    Jan 25, 2012 6:18 PM

    Alex Spanos, who seems determined to make Phil Rivers this generation’s Dan Marino, or Jerry Jones, who’s now taken over the role of Al Davis.

    Perfectly put.

  44. cowhawkfan says: Jan 25, 2012 7:33 PM

    Horrible hire. Horrible decisions all around…other than getting rid of Caldwell. The Colts will revert to being to Dolts without Manning and with this Coach. Feel sorry for Luck if he ends up there, then again, Luck is mediocre at best anyway.

  45. charlutes says: Jan 25, 2012 7:34 PM

    I’m saying it now. licks a bust, new look colts are awful next year.

  46. patriotinvasion says: Jan 25, 2012 7:38 PM

    As a Patriots fan, I’m kind of sad to see our arch rival transform away from what they were. I’ll miss Brady trying to make plays against that Tampa-2. I just hope Peyton stays so he and Brady can have a few more duels before all is said and done.

  47. austynbigg says: Jan 25, 2012 8:03 PM

    SOOOO happy to see the move away from “Bend Don’t Break.” Curious how mathis and/or Freeney work in a 3-4 scheme though. Tired of watching JJ Watts, Justin Smith, Chris Long, Patrick Willis, and all the other BIG GUYS in the league while we have small peep. Hopefully we make some good free agency moves too.

  48. 2difshoe says: Jan 25, 2012 8:17 PM

    Craigsimsrules says:

    Jan 25, 2012 5:47 PM
    Payton……. Your FIRED!!!!!

    ************************************
    Irishjugalo says:

    You can’t spell the name of the QB who has been in the headlines all year long, or properly use contractions? Somebody needs his posting access cut off.

    =============================================

    Easy Francis… certainly, you are perfect !

    Although I do give you credit for the ability to multi-task, one hand on the keyboard and the other down your pants.

  49. sdboltaction says: Jan 25, 2012 8:25 PM

    @Deb… Very accurate and astute point.

  50. gshah1023 says: Jan 25, 2012 8:43 PM

    I guessed Pagano for the Jim Isray tweet sweepstakes… hope I win

  51. cereal blogger says: Jan 25, 2012 8:57 PM

    Interesting hire, surprised Pagano already got a HC job but I think he will be a good one. The players will love him. I wonder if Freeney moves to the outside in a 3-4 ?

  52. conbro8 says: Jan 25, 2012 9:19 PM

    craigsimsrules says:Jan 25, 2012 5:22 PM

    Payton……. Your FIRED!!!!!
    ====================
    Sean Payton is the head coach of the Saints, not the Colts. Oh, my bad…. were you trying to make a funny about PEYTON Manning? You confused me with your ignorance.

  53. sbaltimore says: Jan 25, 2012 9:38 PM

    As a Ravens fan, I can say that at least the Colts are getting a very good coordinator. Sometimes coordinators bomb as head coaches, other times not. Chuck Pagano was very well liked by his players. But sometimes that’s a luxury of a coordinator that doesn’t necessarily carry over to a head coach, because coordinators spend more time with the players and build strong bonds. The Colts defense should improve, but it remains to be seen whether or not Pagano adapts to the 4-3, or tries to remake the D into a 3-4. If he tries the latter approach, it could take some time to get the right personnel. If he tries the former, and Peyton returns healthy, the Colts could rebound more quickly than people expect. If not, this could be a real rebuilding scene for years to come, especially if Luck is the new QB and Peyton is gone.

  54. reedhof20 says: Jan 25, 2012 10:52 PM

    When a coordinator takes over a team, their side of the ball often sucks. Billick – bad offense, Harbaugh – (Baltimore) bad special teams, Bellichek – bad D, Marvin Lewis – bad D (for the most part, though not recently)

  55. tatum064 says: Jan 25, 2012 10:54 PM

    ingraven says:
    Jan 25, 2012 5:18 PM
    I love how EVERY D-Coordinator becomes a Head Coach after they leave Baltimore, and for the MOST part do horribly. He’s gona wish he stayed with us. Good luck tho Gano’!!!

    ==================

    Yeah, that Rex Ryan and 2 AFC Championship appearances was absolutely awful, especially dismissing New England and perfectly defending Tom Brady the year before, too. Terrible.

  56. tatum064 says: Jan 25, 2012 10:56 PM

    reed20fence says:
    Jan 25, 2012 5:47 PM
    Nooooooooo!!!!!!

    WHY GOD, WHY!!?!?!

    If there was a single Ravens fan left not depressed after Sunday, they’re depressed now.

    ==========

    Wouldnt Dean Pees take over that DC position?…and you’d still be relatively in good hands…..

  57. dolphins4 says: Jan 25, 2012 11:01 PM

    I wonder if Peyton knows the words to Hail to the Redskins?

  58. elmoron says: Jan 25, 2012 11:07 PM

    deadeye says:
    Jan 25, 2012 7:03 PM
    Has Peyton weighed in on this yet?
    ———————————————————–
    More importantly, what does Archie say?

  59. cmgww says: Jan 25, 2012 11:13 PM

    I hate the colts because of their owner and the way they sanbagged all the games last year. I never saw any team lose games on purpose in the NFL until this year with the colts.
    Hopfully Luck will be bust and I’ll bust out laughing.

    ======================================

    You obviously aren’t a Colts fan or didn’t watch their games. They did anything but sandbag. When your offense is built entirely around the QB, one of the best of all time, who basically is his own OC, and he goes down…it’s over. The entire team is predicated on Manning. Look at the Pittsburgh game, or Tampa, or KC…all those games were winnable but the D tired out b/c the offense couldn’t do anything but go 3 and out once the opposition had adjusted to the Colts…The D has always been built around Manning and the offense getting a lead or at least keeping it close. They would allow yards but got key stops to let Manning work his magic. Problem is, no Manning, the D was exposed. The 2 wins and close loss to NE (sorry but that wasn’t garbage time, they were closing in fast and ran out of time) were when the idiot coaching staff stopped trying to force Orlovsky to run Manning’s playbook. They used a FULLBACK the final games…There hasn’t been a real fullback in Indy since Roosevelt Potts in the mid 90s! Sandbagging my azz….they sucked b/c Manning was out. And Irsay realized that the Polians had built the entire team around one player. That doesn’t work…so they are gone.

  60. raiderlyfe510 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:09 AM

    Chuck who???

    Isn’t that the guy that coordinated the day to day activities for Ray Lewis’ defense.

    Anybody could be an NFL head coach these days.

  61. conbro8 says: Jan 26, 2012 3:24 AM

    I hate the colts because of their owner and the way they sanbagged all the games last year. I never saw any team lose games on purpose in the NFL until this year with the colts.
    Hopfully Luck will be bust and I’ll bust out laughing.
    ==========
    You are an ignorant human being. I don’t know what “sanbagged” means, but if you are implying that the Colts threw any games, go back to FIFA. As cmgww said above me– that team is BUILT around Manning (a horrible mistake that is being rectified this offseason). However, yo know what I actually saw that was PROVEN this season? Aaron Rodgers is a system quarterback. There– you want to argue semantics, then so will I. A backup QB threw a better game than his STARTER has EVER done. Boom. See I can play “dumbass” too.

  62. xavier46 says: Jan 26, 2012 4:54 AM

    kelly8791 says:Jan 25, 2012 6:31 PM

    Ummm…anyone remember Tony Dungy? He was a defensive coach too, and the Colts stayed an offensive team.

    The Ravens defense is built on speed and athleticism first, just like the Colts have been. Ya, they’re bigger than the Colts, but who isn’t?

    the Polians were axed mainly for personal reasons (that’s a pretty safe assumption), not because something, necessarily, needed fixing.

    couldn’t Irsay be keeping the same blueprint and simply bringing in people to oversee it that he likes better than the guys he had before? I guess not. That would be way too simple for the people who have all the answers.
    =================================
    Stick with me while I try to decipher the mess you have made with all those commas.

    1. Remember Peyton Manning? When you have a legend, don’t mess with it. Dungy knew Peyton made him look better and also made his job easier, just as Dungy did for Peyton.

    2. I think there are 30 other defenses built of speed and athleticism, or are some built on laziness and lack of speed? The Ravens are hard hitting and physical. The Colts were finesse. The two really defenses couldn’t be further apart.

    3. Is that a safe assumption? I thought maybe they were axed because they built a team that reiled upon 1 player so much and had no plan for an injury. I think the team also went 2-14, no? If I were an owner, I’d want to fix that.

    4. Football is about liking people? I thought you played to win the game, that’s what Herm says! A physical, aggressive, 3-4 defense could not be more of a change from an undersized, finesse, 4-3. If that’s the same blueprint, then what’s the difference between a 2,000 sq ft home and a 17,000 sq ft home? The only thing the same about the blueprints is the desire to win.

    Now, I don’t claim to have all the answers, as you suggest. I just have no idea what your post was about. I’m not even a Colts fan. However, if I was I would like this hire; they could have done much worse. Of course the wheel isn’t being reinvented, they don’t reinvent tires either (but every once and again my vehicle needs new ones to get to the next stage), maybe the Colts just got some new wheels.

    I hope you may offer a rebuttal for clarification on your thoughts.

  63. jimmysee says: Jan 26, 2012 5:50 AM

    Deb says:
    Jan 25, 2012 6:18 PM

    Wow. You have to give Irsay credit for having the brass to make definitive changes as soon as he realized his franchise needed an overhaul. That’s a lot more than we can say for Alex Spanos, who seems determined to make Phil Rivers this generation’s Dan Marino, or Jerry Jones, who’s now taken over the role of Al Davis.

    ————————————————————-

    Agree, though let’s not confuse Jerry Jones, a tiresome meddler, with Al Davis, an historic figure in the NFL up there with Curley Lambeau, George Halas, Lamar Hunt, Bert Bell.

    I’ll cut Al Davis lots of slack — he earned it.

    Not so for Jerry Jones.

  64. micronin127 says: Jan 26, 2012 8:02 AM

    Peyton could benefit from a transformation to a physical team built around defense. Less pressure to score every drive. Possibly a more balanced offensive attack with a running game.

    Teams will always put extra DBs on the field against Manning and he can check to running plays and be very effective.

    Elway won 2 late career Super Bowls mainly because of Terrell Davis and his own experience and leadership.

    Don’t count out Peyton’s triumphant return to Colts.

  65. jimyritz says: Jan 26, 2012 8:03 AM

    Inexperienced GM + inexperienced Head Coach = a mess….

    What was Pagano a DC for 1 year? Don’t underestimate the Ray Lewis, Ed Reed factor..basically, 2 coaches on the field. Can Pagano run a team, evaluate personnel, design plays???

    The Colts/Pagano should keep Peyton because then they don’t have to worry about the offense..Peyton is basically a coach. Pagano should focus on creating a top 10 defense…

    I’d trade down, draft RG3 and use the additional first round pick for a young stud DE, DT…

  66. MichaelEdits says: Jan 26, 2012 9:19 AM

    If I’d been running the Colts, they’d have done the overhaul right after Dungy left, but then they wouldn’t be able to draft Andrew Luck, so be glad I don’t run the Colts. Peyton does.

  67. noquickreactionshere says: Jan 26, 2012 10:02 AM

    @ joshsports6000

    I agree with what you are saying but you are wrong about Pagano. I was surprised to see the story compare him to Rex Ryan. He is not an attention wh*re like Rexy, I would compare his style more to Ditka or even Harbaugh. He is tough, tenatious, and brings swagger but does not bring unwanted cheap talk like the Ryan brothers.

  68. Deb says: Jan 26, 2012 4:56 PM

    @jimmysee …

    Agreed! I definitely meant the Davis of recent memory.

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