The news of Colts coach Chuck Pagano’s leukemia diagnosis has led to an outpouring of support from around the NFL, but it also forced the Colts to make a decision about who would take over Pagano’s duties until he’s healthy enough to return.
They’ve decided to go with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who has spent a long time doing a lot of different jobs on coaching staffs without ever ascending to the top spot. This obviously isn’t the way that Arians, who has survived his own bout with cancer, would have chosen to get his first swing at a top job which may be why he says that he isn’t viewing this as a head coaching gig.
“This isn’t a head coaching job for me right now,” Arians said, via the Associated Press. “It’s just an expanded role as coordinator until Chuck comes back.”
Uncomfortable as he might be about the circumstances, Arians has to view this as a head coaching job until Pagano is able to resume his duties. While Arians will still be calling plays for the offense, there needs to be one guy in charge of the big picture and the Colts have tabbed Arians for the role.
It’s good news, then, that Arians seems to be taking to the fuller role. Defensive end Robert Mathis said he’s been encouraging the defense instead of trash talking them as he did when he was just the team’s offensive coordinator. That’s a necessary step toward filling the void at the top of the Colts’ coaching staff.