Chuck Pagano will no longer be the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. No there isn’t a source I have for that, but it’s what is going to happen come next Monday. Win, lose, or draw on “Black Monday” Chuck Pagano will be looking for a new job. I would be willing to bet that Jim Irsay already has the letter notifying Chuck on his desk in an envelope just waiting for 10am on Monday morning to give to Coach Pags. Does this make me sad? Sure it does, but I knew as this season progressed it was going to happen. It sucks to see such a great man lose his job this way, but the more I think about it the more I agree with a move at the head coaching position. Now 1070 the Fan’s JMV stated yesterday on his show that a source of his close to the Colts has said whomever replaces Pags will have to have NFL head coaching experience. That will thin the list out quite a bit.
The Colts made the best move they could have this season by letting go of Pep Hamilton. Hamilton wasn’t cut out for this team or the NFL in my opinion. Letting Chuck bring in and keep around Rob Chudzinski to be the new offensive coordinator was a great move. I think that if the team could have stayed healthy it would have been the move that saved the season. Now that the season is almost over it’s time to talk about some potential candidates to replace Chuck at the helm of our Colts. Here are a few names that I feel would make the biggest impact on this team immediately and keep them in contention for the Super Bowl.
I know what you’re thinking, “Harbaugh would never leave Michigan after one season with the big turnaround he had this year!” I tend to agree with you, but the wild card here is that Andrew Luck is our quarterback. When Andrew Luck took over the Stanford Cardinals coached by Jim Harbaugh both of their names became huge. I think Harbaugh would seriously consider leaving to coach Luck again with the weapons he has as his disposal. He is also tough enough that he won’t let the players get to comfortable with any situation. If the teams wins he will let them know where they still failed and what can get better. If the team loses he will understand, but he won’t stand for another loss next week and will do everything he can to make sure that his team is prepared for everything. He had a great run in San Francisco and I think that he would consider leaving to come to Indy.
This name has been linked to the Colts for awhile now and it doesn’t seem to be going away. Payton has a winning track record with a quarterback who loves to throw the ball. He has a system that seems to utilize every little thing that each player has to maximize their potential. Once Sean Payton and Drew Brees got together the sparks flew and they brought swagger back to New Orleans in the shape of the Lombardi Trophy. Now the knock is obviously the bounty scandal in which he lost a whole season with the team and that proved to be what hurt them the most and possibly the biggest reason for the Saints slow downfall from the top of the NFL heap. Payton is a players coach like Chuck is, but he isn’t a doormat. He is passionate yet calculated which is something that Chuck just isn’t. Chuck wears his heart on his sleeve and the players know it. They love Chuck here in Indy, but I don’t think he can get the most out of them like Sean Payton can.
This is the one that everyone will call me crazy for writing about. Why would Gruden leave the cush of the analyst booth to get back into coaching and I have two words, “Andrew Luck”. Gruden has been on record saying multiple times that he would come out of retirement if he were able to coach an Andrew Luck. This will be his chance. Gruden has been out of the game for awhile, but he is still one of the best football minds out there. He is not utilizing his talents at all sitting next to Mike Tirico and his vast football mind would be a big help to this Colts team. Gruden is an “old school” coach in that he loves his players, but they will respect him or face his wrath. He has a Lombardi under his belt already and I bet he would love to win another one with Andrew Luck as his quarterback. Gruden would be the biggest target if I were searching for a new head coach and he will want some of the control of the personnel decisions which is the only thing that I think would be a problem with him coming to Indy is working with Ryan Grigson, if Grigson stays around. If he does, Grigson likes the power to himself and never really took to much input from Chuck. Gruden doesn’t work like that and wouldn’t stand for it. If he were to be given some of the decision-making I think the Colts would have a damn good shot of luring Jon Gruden from ESPN back to the NFL sidelines where he should have never left.
Those are the three best candidates for the upcoming vacant Colts head coaching position. All three have great track records and two of the three have a Lombardi Trophy under their belts. I think one of these three men will grab a hold of this locker room and make sure they know that a season like this one they are in right now is unacceptable and won’t happen on their watch. I think it’s time for a tough coach to come in and hopefully grab their attention or get rid of the dead weight.