After saying plenty of things about Sunday night’s fake punt fiasco against the Patriots, Colts coach Chuck Pagano has finally made a good decision. He’s no longer talking about the play.
During the Monday night radio show that triggered an ill-advised call for Twitter questions for Pagano, three fan questions made the cut. One related to the play that will live in Indy infamy.
The question, via the Indianapolis Star: “Why did Griff Whalen snap the ball on the fake punt?”
The answer, from Pagano: “From a communications standpoint, I didn’t do a good enough job with all 11 players that were on the football field. Again, we’ve looked at it extensively, we’ve talked about it enough. We looked at it today and now it’s time to put that one to bed and move on.”
Earlier in the day, Pagano answered a few more questions about the play during a press conference. Here are the key exchanges, from the transcript provided by the team.
Q: Do you regret even being in that position with the fake punt?
“No, no, not at all. Not pleased obviously with the way that we prepared the guys or coached the guys to go out and execute the play. That’s on me. I talked about that with great length, and I’ve got to be better. I don’t regret the play call at all.”
Q: Did anything on the tape today reveal something you might not have seen last night?
“Not really, we just didn’t – again, I take full responsibility for it from a preparation standpoint as far as a lot of things that had to do with that play not working. That falls on me and nobody else and I got to be better.”
Q: You could have called a timeout in that situation?
“Well, the design was to actually maybe get them to burn a timeout that they might need later on at the end of the game or catch them with too many men on the field, yada, yada, yada. It didn’t work out that way.”
Q: There had to be a fallback plan last night. I’m sure you guys talked about that.
“Yeah, at length. Again, I obviously didn’t do a good enough job of getting the thing coached up correctly to handle every scenario that can come up. That’s on me. That isn’t on these players.”
On one hand, it’s admirable that Pagano is willing to take the blame for what ultimately was a bone-headed decision by receiver Griff Whalen to snap the ball to safety Colt Anderson with no other Colts around and five Patriots in the vicinity — including one at each of Anderson’s shoulders. On the other hand, Pagano concocted the play, installed the play, practiced the play, and ultimately chose to run the play. While it would be nice to think that someone else in the organization would have been willing or able to ask Pagano at some point along the path whether he’s lost his damn mind, this one lands on Pagano’s lap.
And it’s not going away, even if he decides to ignore it. With games coming up against the Saints, Panthers, and Broncos, losses in two of those three punctuated by an embarrassment at home against Peyton Manning and company could result in Jim Irsay bidding farewell to Pagano during the bye week.