Colts coach Chuck Pagano apparently didn’t get the memo about teaching players not to lead with their heads.
With the Colts in full pads at training camp for the first time today, Pagano said he’s looking for players to distinguish themselves by playing physical football — and that means he’s looking to see which players are hitting with their helmets.
“See who will put their hat on people, strap the ‘Riddell’ on and see who’s going to put the screws of that ‘Riddell’ on people and take people on,” Pagano said, in comments distributed by the team. “Guys that will come off and fire off the offensive line and we talked about we’ve got to be able to run the football and stop the run period. That’s our mindset and that’s the mindset we are trying to develop.”
You could argue that “put their hat on people” is just a figure of speech, and that it just means Pagano wants players to be aggressive and hard-hitting, as every football coach does. But at a time when the NFL is making a particular point about prohibiting players from helmet-to-helmet hits, and when the NFL is facing lawsuits from thousands of former players who say helmet-to-helmet hits affected their lives after they left the game, “put their hat on people” is an unfortunate choice of words.
And a choice of words that the NFL would undoubtedly prefer to see removed from coaches’ vocabularies.