The season that many thought (including myself) could lead to the Super Bowl is looking to come to end on Sunday unless some crazy things happen that would somehow allow the Colts to win the AFC South. The scenario is unlikely as 9 things have to happen in order for this scenario to occur. In other words, it’s not very probable. Reports from various sports networks have indicated that the Colts intend to not retain Coach Chuck Pagano once the season is over as his contract will come to an end. Sure many fans blamed Pagano for the team’s performance as the head coach generally takes the heat for disappointing seasons. The only outlying problem is this team may finish 8-8 without Andrew Luck for a majority of the season and are now without Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst which means that newly signed veterans Ryan Lindely and/or Josh Freeman will lead the team against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
That doesn’t sound that promising, but considering the injuries it’s a miracle that the team even stands a chance (remote as it is) to make the playoffs. The team has made the playoffs annually since Pagano’s arrival in 2012 (which was ahead of schedule), but apparently Jim Irsay has made his mind to move on from Pagano even though the team has issued a statement that no decision has been made. Short of making the playoffs it seems the dye has been cast though it appears, in my opinion, the real problem lies with the team’s General Manager, Ryan Grigson. Prior to the start of the season reports leaked out about tension between Grigson and Pagano and they tried to squash them, but it became apparent that there was truth to the rumors. Now reports are using the words “Toxic” and “100 times worse than reported” concerning the relationship between the two. The same reports indicated Grigson’s status is a little more uncertain as it appears he is safe for the moment, but that could change depending on the coach that replaces Pagano.
Chuck Pagano hasn’t always made the best coaching decisions on the field during his tenure. Though the problem is Grigson has reportedly interfered so much that no one can determine how much of the blame should be placed on Pagano when Grigson was forcing his hands in situations like playing Trent Richardson, shuffling the offensive line (at center last season), and forcing Pep Hamilton on Pagano instead of his choice Rob Chudzinski. I think if the team is really looking to fix the issues on the team, they should look no further than parting ways with Grigson. Again, Pagano is not blameless in this mess, but he made the playoff every year and stands a chance this season. The team really respects him and Chuck has proven to be a good guy. It saddens me to hear that this is likely the outcome while Grigson’s status remains much iffier at this point. Grigson has proven to be mediocre at being a GM besides the first season while Pagano has somehow managed to move this team forward every year. Sure, I’d like more consistency from him concerning the preparedness each week, but he deserves better than what the team is doing (leaking the information prior to this week’s game against the Titans).
Teams like the Steelers and the Giants have long been patient with coaches knowing that there are ebbs and flows. Even Jerry Jones is exerting patience with Garrett who faced a similar circumstance losing Tony Romo for a majority of the season and Shad Khan is doing a similar thing with Gus Bradley who has lost a lot in Jacksonville. Time will tell if this is the right decision, but I fear this could be a huge mistake that could potentially push any momentum backwards for years to come. I have suspicions that Irsay may have something lined up already so I will wait to see what the final plan is, but right now I’m disappointed with the potential direction the team is taking. Chuck deserves better than this. I know a blog writing about this probably will have little to no effect on the outcome, but at least I’m able to let me feelings known and those feelings are that the team is letting the wrong person walk!