Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano will enter the upcoming NFL season on the hot seat with new general manager Chris Ballard eyeing his every move.
A presser today, but Colts GM Chris Ballard intends to keep HC Chuck Pagano for 2017, then re-evaluate for 2018, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 30, 2017
This isn’t a terribly surprising report. In fact, it’s somewhat surprising that Pagano still has a job right now. Many feel owner Jim Irsay made a mistake by not letting him go when he fired former general manager Ryan Grigson.
A mediocre game manager (at best) who has made some high-profile blunders by making strange decisions at strange times (watch here), Pagano now has to prove he can make smart decisions and develop talent. While he’s definitely a coach players have been able to get behind in the past, everyone has a clean slate now and the rules have changed with a new sheriff in town.
Of course, one key factor in keeping Pagano on for the 2017 season is that the Colts didn’t fire Grigson until after all but one team had made moves to fill vacant head coaching spots. There just aren’t that many hot candidates, and it was too late in the process to make a big move (especially when Jon Gruden turned down the job, allegedly).
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next for the Colts. Ballard has been described as a tremendous people person and is greatly respected around the league for his ability to connect with those he works with. This is a stark contrast to the contentious environment that was cultivated under Grigson, so perhaps Pagano will thrive and no changes will need to be made next season.
On the other hand, if Pagano is deemed unworthy, then Indy will be one of the hottest destinations for head coach prospects after the 2017 season.