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#pounditWednesday, June 23, 2021

Chuck Pagano does damage control on Andrew Luck criticism


Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano may have overreacted a bit in his postgame press conference Monday night following an embarrassing loss to the New York Jets. After taking a night to sleep on it, Pagano tried to do some damage control.

Make no mistake about it — Pagano is frustrated with the way Andrew Luck has played through the first two weeks of the season. But when asked on Tuesday about the way he criticized Luck for not protecting the ball, the 54-year-old coach did a 180.

“Thank God that we have the guy that we have,” Pagano said, per Mike Chappell of Indy Sports Central. “He’s been doing phenomenal things for us over the last three years. And he makes plays. We put a lot on his plate and he handles it extremely well and he manages the game and he finds a way.

“When we do have a breakdown in a protection, he’s big and he’s strong and he’s athletic and he can escape and he can extend plays. We’ve seen it time and time again where he’s been able to, when things do breakdown, make huge plays for us.”

Pagano was also asked if he was taking a shot at Colts general manager Ryan Grigson when he said Luck should be used to dealing with an incompetent offensive line. Of course, Pagano insisted he meant that as a compliment to Luck.

“You guys know how many different lineups we’ve had because of injuries and this, that and the other. That’s well-documented,” he said. “The way he’s been able to perform and lead this football team – 11 wins three straight years and playoff wins – that’s what that was.

“It was saying, ‘Hey, guys, we’ve got one helluva quarterback, OK?’ We’ve got a great player and a great leader there.”

That’s clearly not what Pagano was saying on Monday, even if that’s what he meant to say.

Pagano is clearly under a lot of stress, and it seems like the reports about growing tension between him and the team’s front office are accurate. If the Colts don’t turn things around, Pagano will be out of a job.

H/T Around the NFL


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