Report: Chuck Pagano enters lame-duck season in Indy

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While recently reading Chuck Pagano’s 2014 book, Sidelined, it became impossible to envision him coaching any team other than the Colts. But it’s now seems to be a distinct possibility.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Pagano and the Colts aren’t expected to reach agreement on a contract extension before the fourth and final year of the contract he signed in 2012.

Which means that Pagano will be a lame duck, a phenomenon that some teams try to avoid but multiple franchises have embraced in recent years. Last season, the Cowboys opted not to extend the contract of coach Jason Garrett before or during the season, signing him to a new contract after he technically was no longer employed by the team.

Garrett could have made life interesting for the Cowboys by expressing a desire to coach elsewhere.  He didn’t.  Pagano may feel differently, if Colts owner Jim Irsay opts to make Pagano wait until after the 2015 season to get a new contract.  At some point, the team needs to demonstrate real loyalty to a coach who has helped the team become successful.

The problem may be that owner Jim Irsay wants more success before making a fresh commitment to Pagano.  Ditto, possibly, for G.M. Ryan Grigson, who also is entering the final year of his contract, who traded a first-round draft pick for Trent Richardson, and who possibly won’t be getting an extension, either.

Irsay had no qualms about firing Jim Mora after the 2001 season, after a 6-10 season followed a pair of playoff appearances with Peyton Manning.  Perhaps Irsay believes that, unless Grigson and Pagano can get more out of franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, Irsay will find someone who will.

That’s his right, but it also will be Grigson’s and Pagano’s right to accept employment elsewhere, if they take the Colts to or close to the top of the NFL and attract interest elsewhere.

95 responses to “Report: Chuck Pagano enters lame-duck season in Indy

  1. With all due respect, there’s plenty of guys who could have the same level of success Pagano has had with Andrew Luck at quarterback. I’ve never been particularly impressed with the guy. The cancer was a really nice story but it shouldn’t prevent a fair assessment of his abilities which

  2. That’s right, Irsay! What has Pagano done for you lately? Clearly, any old scrub can get you to the AFC Championship game.

    Plus, that’s just what your anointed second-coming QB needs to improve – a regime change. The Browns have been employing this philosophy every year or two since 1999 with tremendous success.

  3. Seriously? You have to keep this guy. Three straight 11-win seasons. Three straight trips to the playoffs, going one step further each time. There’s work to be done but much of it is Grigson’s. Dude’s got to get Pagano some better players – specifically on the Oline and most of the defense. If Chuck is on the hot seat, then Grigson, as the story says, has to be as well. But neither of them should be. Hope this isn’t just Irsay listening to the voices in his head and power tripping.

  4. I like pags-arians was the guy i wanted, but you cant kicka man when hes hes battling cancer. Pagano is a winner. Not the best coach, but not a chum likw philbin or something. Who would we replace him with? I dont think its fair to say if we dont win a super bowl every year then you are fired. If we beat the pats, then who cares. If we geT pummelled, then hes got to go.

  5. I sure the NFL will have a job on the table for Pagano. Executive Head of Inflation.

  6. Pagano is an awful coach. The Colts and their fans have never been realistic about his lack of coaching ability due to his sickness.

    Put it this way… what is the Colts record if their QB is say Nick Foles?

  7. Marvin Lewis is a lame duck coach as well this season. Both have made the playoffs appearances the last 3 seasons… Lewis has made it in 4 straight.

  8. The issue with the Colts isn’t whether they’re getting enough out of Andrew Luck. The issue is whether or not the rest of the roster is going to get better enough to move the Colts into the upper echelon of NFL teams that can consistently challenge for a Super Bowl.

    The Colts were out-classed by the Patriots in the AFC Championship game in January. They won’t take the next step towards the Super Bowl if they don’t take steps to improve their defense. Luck can’t do it all.

  9. As much as I’d love to see Pagano return to Baltimore to run the defense again, I’m sure he’d only want a head coaching job in the NFL after holding that position for 4 years.

    Still, it’s pretty shocking to think that Irsay wouldn’t be interested in keeping Pagano and/or Grigson to run the show in Indianapolis.

  10. I am shocked! Despite meds use I assumed Irsay was one of the better owners in the NFL, but to make a coach who has done nothing but make the playoffs (and many believe will get to Super Bowl in the coming post-season) into a lame duck is terrible! If Irsay wanted to fire Pagano after 2015 for not making the Super Bowl after extending him, that’s one thing (similar to Ross extending Philbin on the assumption that Miami will make playoffs, but getting to fire him if they don’t), but to not extend him period? Pagano deserves a lot better!

  11. A lame duck coach is perfect for this soft, lame team.
    Now that Grigson has signed half of the CFL, a rugby player, and two roller derby babes, the Colts will be an even easier ‘W’ for teams this year.
    Another week and we should find out what penalties the Colts will receive for framing/snitching/lying in framegate.
    2015 is going to go just like the Colts deserve it to go. Even playing in, by far, the weakest division in the NFL.

  12. The entire colts organization is a joke! They whine about deflated footballs!! Really?? When they get spanked every damn time they play the pats… They should just do us all a favour and shut up for once!

  13. Blame Grigson for his awful drafts and the Richardson trade. Their roster is a wasteland in terms of talent. Their last two 1st round uses were on Richardson and Bjorn Warner(who wasn’t active for the AFC title game).

  14. Irsay wanted more than one Super Bowl victory out of Manning and doesn’t want to surround Luck with mediocre coaching. Good call by Irsay to keep a fire lit under Chuck.

  15. But but but ifff it waaahsn’t for that slightly under-inflated football they woulda been in the Super Bowl!!!

    On a serious note, how hilarious would’ve a Colts vs Sea Hawks SB been??? Talk about being gelded in front of the whole world… Would’ve made 5-heads performance the yr before look like Montana…

  16. I hope Thay keep him. I thought his game plan for the AFC championship was brilliant, ya know the same one he used against the Pats in November. And all of those half time adjustments? Outstanding! As a Patriot fan I hope he stays for a long long time .

  17. jetsfaninindy says:

    “Put it this way… what is the Colts record if their QB is say Nick Foles?”


    What if the Colts drafted Ryan Leaf instead of Peyton Manning, allowing the Chargers to take Manning?

    What if Drew Bledsoe never suffered a concussion in Week 2 of the 2001 season, opening the door for Tom Brady?

    What if the Rams never gave Kurt Warner a shot?

    We can play the “what if” game until the end of time, but you can’t just pick and choose a “what if” scenario out of thin air to make a point.

  18. The fact that he’s battling cancer should have no bearing on his employment. He not the only person in America fighting cancer.
    Besides, he’ll do whatever John Harbaugh tell’s him to do.
    If Irsay could let Peyton Manning go then the coach is a minor situation.

  19. It would be easier too get more out of Luck(even though he has almost single handedly carried the team to their wins) if they would put some talent around him. Grigson should have been fired immediately for the Richardson trade(that was worse than trading a 1 for Rick Mirer)

  20. I sure the NFL will have a job on the table for Pagano. Executive Head of Inflation.

    Hey that’s great Ted. Now he can work closely with The Head of Deflation Mr Bill Belichek….will they get along Ted.

  21. Everyone is right, the cancer should not be a determining factor in his future as a coach. 3 straight playoff appearances, grooming a franchise QB, and coaching what appears from a distance to be , frankly, underwhelming roster to success should be the determining factor.

  22. Irsay is a class C Idiot.
    It would be funny if Luck said, screw you lil Jimmy, you can franchise me every year with 20% pay hikes or free agency here i come.
    This is the franchise lets not forget that TANKED 1/4 of an entire season so it could get the #1 pick with Luck.
    Being completely devoid of class doesnt change with the weather.
    With lil Jimmy Irsay you know what you are dealing with,
    a classless,clueless buffoon.

  23. Grigson is the #1 problem.

    He’s terrible as a GM. The Trich trade, the Gosder Cherilus $40M contract (when he was coming off microfracture and no other team was offering anything close), not being able o find a RB to succeed in an Andrew Luck-offense, this guy is terrible!

    But the worst part is, they have the BEST (young) QB in the game, and they are going to get him killed with that horrible oline.

    I swear, Irsay is determined to make Luck “Peyton 2.0”, and not in a good way.

    If u have a franchise QB, SURROUND HIM WITH TALENT. Or at least protect him well enough so he isn’t limping around before he turns 30..

  24. A legit concern was the AFC championship game. You had a GM, whose team got their hats handed to them, excitedly calling a reporter about the inflation level of the footballs.

    You had a team who remained in the game up until halftime (oh yeah, when those footballs were used) and then in second half (when the balls were properly inflated) get absolutely pounded and obviously gave up before the start of the 4th quarter.

    I believe it was Michael Irvin, on the NFL Network, who said he never saw such an unprofessional performance by a team in a championship game.

    That is a leadership problem

  25. Can’t really blame them. It’s hard to escape the notion that it was Bruce Arians who was responsible for the Colts success. This year will be a good year to see what Pagano can do. He’s got a great QB so no excuse.

  26. Cannot underestimate the power of having Andrew Luck behind center. It is the equivalent of having the cheat code to Madden in a league where QB play is everything. I think this is a valid course of action for the franchise.

    With that said….. Would love to know how Luck feels.

  27. this proves the Colts didn’t tank for Luck or Peyton in 1997; it means they are historically lucky (no pun) their owner is so incompetent with running a team

  28. maybe Pagano is actually embarrassed by the actions of grigson and the colts organization as a whole after they acted like cowards and complained to the league about the so called deflated footballs. Pagano has always seemed like a classy guy to me. I was disappointed when I heard his name involved in the rat job. perhaps he came to his senses and doesnt want to be affiliated with cowards anymore. godspeed to him if that is the case

  29. LOL. All they’ve done is go 11-5 three years in a row and get one game closer to the Super Bowl each year Pagano has been coach. Good luck improving on that.

  30. It’s never a good idea to give the coach a long term extension when you know your going to fire the GM. In the best case scenario, they will find a new GM that likes Pagano and then they will resign Pagano. If they can’t find that GM, then Pagano will be gone as well.

  31. Pagano is not a great coach. Why does this idea that he is going to be held accountable bother people?

    Andrew Luck, just like Manning before him carries the Colts. He makes Pagano look better than he is. How many times have the Pats flat out embarrassed the Colts under Pagano? They do the same thing, run the ball down the Colts throat and Pagano has no answer.

    Why did Pagano stick with Richardson for so long after it was crystal clear Richardson sucked? Game after game after game Richardson still got the majority of carries for the Colts. We all saw it it.

    Coaches who have won SB get let go if their teams don’t continue to win and move forward. Denver let Shanahan go, Baltimore let Billick go, TB let Dungy go and Dungy is the only NFL coach to ever make TB relevant for more than a season or two. Tom Caughlin is constantly on the hot seat and he’s won two SB.

    I’m a Colts fan and I totally agree if the Colts don’t at least make a game of it against NE they need a new HC. I don’t want to see Lucks career wasted with mediocre coaching like a lot of Manning’s was.

    Luck covers for the Colts horrible run game and horrible defense. Anyone who watches the Colts can see this, we saw it for years with Manning and we saw how that worked come playoff time.

    Pagano has to prove he can take this team to the next level. He doesn’t have to win a SB this year IMO, but he at least has to make his team competitive with NE or its time to find someone who can.

  32. Unless “Lame Duck” has a different meaning than it does in politics, it would only be correct to use the term here if we were absolutely, 100% certain, that it was impossible for Pagano to even have a chance of returning.

    If there is even a fraction of a percentage of a chance, then using the term “Lame Duck” is not correct. Someone feel free to tell me what I’m missing.

  33. When I think of great coaches like Pagano, Mike McCarthy, and Ken Whisenhunt, there are two words that come to mind: quarterback whisperer.


  34. I can’t believe there are still idiots claiming the Colts tanked to get Luck.

    Why would the players and coaches do that? My hat was in it for them? 2011 cost Caldwell and Polian their jobs. It cost Manning his job. It cost Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai and Jeff Saturday their jobs. The Colts roster was completely gutted for 2012. The only skill players on offense who returned were Wayne and Brown.

    So…..why would They have tanked for Luck? It’s just so stupid that people are still claiming the Colts tanked. That year.

    Manning had a major injury the year Luck was available, it’s that simple. The Colts were 10-6 the year before but without Manning that team would have been lucky to win 4 games. Caldwell sucked, Kerry Collins sucked, Painter sucked.

    Manning, just like Luck, makes the Colts look a lot better than they are. If Luck goes down the Colts would be about a 4 win team.

  35. They should move the franchise and hire a new coach in the middle of the night…that’s what Irsay’s do.

  36. Lol. If the Colts get rid of Pagano instead of Grigson, then Grigson must have some major dirt on Irsay.

    Pagano is an excellent head coach. Grigson is a clown show

  37. Bigtimebrownie, you know Baltimore was going to try to take the team away from Irsay, right? Eminent domain? Ever heard of it?

    Irsay was a lot of things but Baltimore dug their own grave, they wouldn’t get him a proper NFL stadium and they were trying to literally take the team away from him.

    But please keep telling the same old story about ” poor Baltimore”. I assume going by your name that you’re a Brown’s fan……”poor Baltimore” sure didn’t mind stealing the Browns from Cleveland.

    And unlike Baltimore Cleveland ALWAYS supported their NFL team.

  38. The patriots beat the hell out of the colts with the same strategy 3 game in a row (2013 postseason, 2014 regular season and 2014 postseason). Running, running, running and running again.

    Pagano is supposed to be a defense oriented coach. Yet, he can’t find the answer to at least contain the Patriots attack.

    He must be replace.

    From a colts fan.

  39. The biggest red flag that I’m not seeing a lot of people bring up, is how horrible the defense has been with a defensive minded coach running the show. That should tell you a lot about Pagano as a head coach. Just like it told us something about Wade Phillips as a head coach, etc.

    Granted, the talent isn’t great, I will give him that. But the defense plays soft and he never is able to make the correct adjustments during a game.

    I think he’s an average coach and the Colts are making the right move here before locking him up long term.

  40. 11 wins, playing the jags, texans, and titans for 6 of the games…..welp, if you guys think that is good….you’ve got a great team there! Enjoy the regular season.

  41. The Colts must be crazy.. Irsay needs help.

    Pagano just led his talent-less roster to the AFC Championship yet he can’t get an extension? What a joke.. The Colts are basically Andrew Luck and a bunch of scrubs (except for TY Hilton).

    If the Colts let him walk, I would rather have Pagano coaching my Broncos instead of Kubiak.

  42. Theoretically Grigson and Pagano were only there to right the ship and lay a solid foundation after Peyton left. Grigson got carried away with trading draft picks for players and I’m sure the Colts don’t want a repeat of the Manning era where the QB is great but the talent around him is sub par. I would keep Pagano but get rid of Grigson.

  43. He’s a ra ra guy plain and simple. Players like him ,press like him ,fans like him. A real nice likable guy BUT clearly someone that’s in over his head when it comes to X’s and O’s game planing and halftime adjustments. He’s a LB coach at best.

  44. What sense does it make to extend a contract to a coach who will soon be banned for life along with the slimeball GM too after it’s announced that they indeed framed the Pats. All the signs are there, just wait till Easter weekend when the announcements made.

  45. Fan tom, no, their job wasnt “theoretically just to right the ship”, that was the mission in 2012 but that obviously wasn’t all they were “only there” for.

    People act like Grigson hasn’t done a good job because of Richardson. Yeah, the Richardson trade was a bust. The Davis trade was great. His offensive drafting has been great, Luck (which anyone would’ve picked, but still) Hilton, Montcrief, Allen, Fleener.

    Grigson has a great FA period this year IMO, which is another reason why Pagano needs to win now. There are no more excuses, the Colts aren’t underdogs anymore.

    Every GM in the league makes mistakes. Look at Seattle and Harvin. Look at NE and their many draft busts. Yes even the great BB has his fair share of busts, but good teams overcome their mistakes.. The Pats best receiver was a 7th round pick who changed positions from QB to receiver.

  46. No problem. Pagano and Grigson have 36 wins their first three years, and that’s taking over a team that had gone 2-14. The Colts will probably go to the Super Bowl this year and Irsay will pay them both. Time will tell. The 49ers ran Seifert out of town after two super bowl wins, and the Rams ran Vermeil out after a super bowl win, so anything is possible in the NFL.

  47. Lol Colts fans that think Pagano under achieved with their roster? Gimme a break, your defense was a joke, the Browns scored 26 on you. Thats personnel not scheme.

    You had no RBs. Luck and Hilton cant defeat the Patriots alone.

  48. When informed of his contract status, Pagano said ‘really, I didn’t know anything about that’.

  49. Pleasestopthisnow

    The Briwns did score 24 points but 14 of them came on an interception return and a fumble. The D wasn’t even on the field for those 14 points.

    In the future you might want to actually watch a game before commenting on it. The Colts turned the ball over 4 times against the Browns.

    The Colts D was average but couldn’t stop the run on teams with good balanced offenses.

  50. I think Pagano is on the John Fox/Marvin Lewis/Lovie Smith level of coaches. He’s done a good job of making them respectable, but he’ll never win a Super Bowl. The Colts should go after Harbaugh next offseason.

  51. This is probably so far down the list it doesn’t get read, but since when is extending a guy a year early a good thing? Another year on the contract means you work another year, that’s all. If you do well we welcome you back, if not goodbye. I’m tired of hearing people getting ripped on for not extending early or a team not offering. The best interest for both sides is not to do it, prove your worth (or not), and then get paid or hit the road. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s called capitalism

  52. On the one hand he already makes $4.5 mil a year and he’s worth $5 mil a year considering that’s the going rate these days for non-Super Bowl coaches (Chip Kelly excepted) – somebody will give him $6 mil a year next year. Might as well be the Colts. It might be higher when he’s on the open-market.

  53. Quite honestly this is a make or break season for the Colts and Pagano. The Colts acquired a lot of talent in the off season. It shouldn’t be a shocker that Irsay wants to wait and see what Pagano does with these new pieces before moving forward. The Colts didn’t look good against some of the better teams in the NFL regardless of the record and if they get beat down by the Patriots again, I wouldn’t mind as a Colts fan that Irsay moves on with another coach and/or GM.

  54. Let Pagano coach IU. I’m sure Tony Dungy would love to return and coach Luck. If Irsay moves the Colts to LA, maybe hire an ex Raider (Art Shell).

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