As it turns out, the notorious fake punt called by Chuck Pagano may have inadvertently helped him in the eyes of the Colts.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network’s NFL Gameday that Pagano’s handling of the aftermath of Sunday night’s fake punt gave Colts brass some renewed hope that Pagano is the right coach to guide the team.
“It was a disaster, it was embarrassing, obviously,” Rapoport told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen. “But this organization really liked how Pagano handled it in the aftermath. That gave them a little more confidence in him that he can deal with some of these really critical situations. There is some optimism as we head toward the end of the season for the Colts.”
If for some reason you have not seen the infamous play, you can watch it here.
Rapoport says that the Colts intend to give Pagano the rest of the season to prove himself.
“This is about wins and losses, and they want to give Pagano every opportunity to prove that he is the coach they thought he was when they did hire him,” Rapoport reported.
Perhaps Chuck Pagano was unable to sleep Sunday night after his team lost at home to the New England Patriots. Because any man who had a chance to sleep on a decision like the one he made in the second half would almost certainly wake up regretting it.
On Monday, Pagano told reporters he is disappointed with the way the Indianapolis Colts executed their bizarre fake punt play, but he said he does not regret calling it.
“No, not at all,” Pagano said, per Kevin Patra of Around the NFL. “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 at great length and I got to be better. But I don’t regret the play call at all”
Colts wide receiver Griff Whalen was never supposed to snap the ball, and you could see Pagano asked him “Why did you snap it?” as he walked off the field. In fact, one Patriots player the Colts player who took the snap was screaming at Whalen to not snap the ball. You can see a video of the mind-blowing play here.
“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 man on the field, yada yada yada. Didn’t work out that way,” Pagano added. “I obviously didn’t do a good enough job of getting the thing coached up correctly to handle every scenario that could come up. Again, that’s on me. That ain’t on these players.”
It doesn’t matter how the play was supposed to go. The bottom line is the Colts were only trailing 27-21 at the time, yet they still felt they had to get cute in order to have a chance to win. Bill Belichick remained calm and didn’t burn a timeout, and his team was somehow prepared for a play it had never seen before.
For the second straight week on Sunday, Chuck Pagano’s emotions got the best of him after a football game. But this time, the Indianapolis Colts head coach was unable to contain his happiness.
Trailing 27-14 after three quarters, it appeared the Colts were going to start 0-3 and perhaps say goodbye to their chances of turning things around. However, they scored 21 points in the third quarter and came back to beat the Tennessee Titans 35-33. The win was capped off when Indy’s defense came up with a stop on a two-point conversion attempt.
“This is bigger than a football game,” Pagano said in the locker room after the game, clearly fighting back tears. “This is about life and learning lessons about life. That you can do anything that you want to do — anything!”
Pagano praised his team for having “grit” and called the game “as big a win as I’ve ever been a part of in my life.”
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is off to an 0-2 start in what is essentially a make or break season for his job status, and he seems to be very aware of his current situation.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Pagano has told people close to him that he has “doubts” about whether he will still be coaching in Indy in 2016.
“So often we talk about coaches on the hot seat, the reality is, Pagano put himself on the hot seat,” Rapoport said on NFL Network Sunday morning. “He declined a one-year contract extension from the Colts, choosing to bet on himself and hopefully cash in at the end of the year. But now they have started 0-2 and, as I said, there are some doubts from him that he will return.”
The Colts need to turn things around, and fast. Andrew Luck has looked completely lost in the first two games of the season, albeit against very tough defenses. He and his teammates will have a chance to right the ship against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
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.
“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.
The Indianapolis Colts were one win away from punching a ticket to the Super Bowl last season. In order to take the next step, they made big splashes in free agency like signing veterans Frank Gore and Andre Johnson to bolster an already powerful offense. Yet, somehow, the Colts look like a complete mess.
After a brutal 20-7 loss to the New York Jets at home Monday night, Chuck Pagano appeared to take shots at both Andrew Luck and Colts GM Ryan Grigson. The Luck criticism was quite harsh:
More Pagano on Luck: He's got to take care of the football. Make great decisions. It’s not that hard. It’s not trigonometry.
Like he did in a Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Luck seemed uncomfortable the entire night against the Jets. He rushed throws and threw into traffic when faced with pressure, which led to three interceptions. Luck also lost a fumble. Through two games, he has a passer rating of 58.9 and has thrown five interceptions compared to three touchdowns.
Pagano made another remark that some have interpreted as piling on Luck further, but it was more likely directed toward Grigson.
Pagano on Luck and #colts leaky O-line: 'Been the case for 3 years now, has it not? Should be more than comfortable dealing with (it).'
No quarterback should be forced to get accustomed to a terrible offensive line, so Pagano was likely implying that the front office has done nothing to improve it. The Jets didn’t sack Luck, but they were in his face all night. The same was true for the Bills, who sacked Luck twice in Week 1.
Chuck Pagano has entered the final year of his contract with the Indianapolis Colts, and there is a growing sense of belief that it could be his last.
A recent report from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports describes some of the “growing friction” that exists between Pagano and the Colts’ brass. More specifically, Pagano was said to be “insulted” by a one-year contract extension Colts owner Jim Irsay offered him last season. Irsay didn’t like the way Pagano responded to the offer, and talks have gone nowhere since.
While Pagano has taken the Colts to the postseason the last three years, the feeling is that he will not be coaching in Indy next season if the team fails to win the Super Bowl.
Those closest to Pagano view it as an eventuality he’s gone; if the team does not reach or win the Super Bowl, he’s out of contract and the likeliest fall guy. And if he does win it all, Pagano’s outside leverage with other teams will never be higher. It’s also nearly impossible for them to imagine a scenario in which he and Grigson are still both there together even if the coach did opt to stay in Indianapolis on a lucrative new deal.
Some have likened it to the situation between the 49ers and then-coach Jim Harbaugh last year, after their inability to get anywhere on an extension became common knowledge and the coach neared lame-duck status. Harbaugh eventually departed with a year left on his deal.
Pagano reportedly does not have a good working relationship with Colts GM Ryan Grigson, who apparently has control over personnel decisions and made the choice on his own to hire defensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
In July, Eric Berry announced he is now cancer free after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last December. He completed treatments in June and has been cleared to practice with the team during training camp.
Chuck Pagano is someone who can relate to Berry, having taken took a leave of absence from his duties in 2012 as he battled a form of leukemia. The Colts head coach was also there to be part of Berry’s support system during the treatment process and offered words of encouragement via text message.
“He would text me and say, ‘Look, they’re going to do a bone marrow biopsy, this is what you need to be prepared for, this, this and this,’” Berry said via The Kansas City Star. “And he had me prepared for a lot of things I wasn’t aware of.”
On Tuesday, Pagano showed his support for Berry in another way, by wearing the above pictured shirt with Berry’s last name and number on the back. The front read “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Berry.”
It’s great to see Pagano and Berry back doing what they enjoy. The NFL is in a much better place when that’s the case.
“If you notice, Harbaugh never went after Bill Belichick and never said anything negative about him as a coach for the previous two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl,” Esiason said. “Next week the Patriots are playing the Colts, and their head coach is Chuck Pagano, who was once defensive coordinator under John Harbaugh and the Ravens. They’re all close and they’re all tight.
“This is what I believe happened: they all wanted to embarrass Tom Brady, and they wanted to put him on the spit if you will. They wanted to make him answer questions about said rule book.”
“You can say whatever you want about DeflateGate, and who said what, but to me this is about how the NFL operates: it’s back stabbing, it’s insecure and it’s childish,” Esiason added. “‘You want to call me out? I’m going to call you out. You want to embarrass me? Guess what I’m going to embarrass you.’ I’m telling you, this is the way the NFL works.
“At the end of the day, Tom Brady is the one who’s got the last laugh. He’s got his third Super Bowl MVP trophy and his fourth Super Bowl.”
Until the NFL releases its findings, nothing can be ruled out. Heck, even someone who is linked to the New York Jets organization has seen his name thrown into the mix. But if it turns out that the only ball that was anything close to two pounds under was the one the Colts were in possession of, people will start wondering.
Eight weeks later, the Trent Richardson trade looks like nothing shy of a brilliant franchise move from the Cleveland Browns. The Indianapolis Colts sent a first round pick to Cleveland for Richardson on Sept. 18. Since joining the Colts, Richardson has averaged 2.8 yards per carry. He has rushed for no more than 60 yards in a single game and been virtually useless in Indy’s offense.
On Thursday night, the Colts were able to manufacture a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans despite Richardson’s uninspiring play. The former Alabama star rushed for 22 yards on eight carries, while backup running back Donald Brown racked up 80 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. On Friday, Chuck Pagano was asked if he had any explanation.
“I don’t know if he’s snake bit, I don’t know what the heck is going on,” the Colts coach said, via Eye on Football. “We’ll get it fixed. We’ll get the holes there. He’s making the right reads, he’s doing all the right things, he knows what to do. He played great without the ball, protection-wise, those things. His numbers are going to come. I’m not concerned about that.”
That’s a flat-out lie from Pagano, who has to be concerned that his team gave up a first-round pick for a player who looks like a classic NFL bust. Brown ran behind the same offensive line and was much more explosive than Richardson. Still, Pagano tried to defend the former No. 3 overall pick by blaming the guys in front of him.
“You look at Trent’s runs, for whatever reason, there’s penetration, a guy is pulling and falls down,” he said. “There’s a guy in the backfield waiting there. He had some really good runs, plays that he made in space, screens, things like that he does a great job with. That’s going to come.”
That is true in some instances, but there are also plenty of runs where Richardson simply doesn’t run hard. He has shown very little speed and has not made tacklers miss. The more we see, the more it looks like Browns legend Jim Brown was spot-on with his unpopular assessment of Richardson’s ability. Unless Richardson turns into a completely different player, it’s safe to say Cleveland robbed the Colts.