Technically speaking, Chuck Pagano has three years left on his contract.
But the Colts coach and cliche-master said Thursday he knows his leash is shorter than that, and perhaps one-1,095th that long.
“I think we all understand the expectations that come with this job,” Pagano said. “We’re all on one-day contracts. That’s how I look at it. We’re going to work hard, roll up our sleeves, like we always do. Every season is different; every team is different. Again, we have a lot of work to do, a ton to do. My focus is on that.
“Control the controllables. Throw it out there, start the new year with you guys. There are things that I can control and there are things that I can’t control so I’m going to focus on the things that I can and go to work on that.”
Thursday was his first appearance since the Colts fired former General Manager Ryan Grigson and replaced him with Chris Ballard, and Pagano said the obligatory stuff about being grateful for the time spent with the former and looking forward to getting to know the latter.
But he also has to know that a year after being tied-at-the-hip to Grigson with extensions a year ago, he has to prove it to his new boss that he’s worth keeping around, and capable of better than 8-8. It may not help that Ballard has emphasized a patient approach to roster-building (as opposed to the wild and wildly unsuccessful free agent spending by Grigson).
“We know how we are judged and it’s by wins and losses — 8-8 the past two years is not good enough,” Pagano said. “The standard is the standard; the expectations are what they are. We are never going to be satisfied until we get back to where we need to be. We have a lot of work to do, but the objective always is to win.”
For Pagano, perhaps, more than anyone in Indianapolis this year.