On Thursday, amidst the madness of the Manning-Irsay media war, the Indianapolis Colts held an introductory press conference for new head coach, Chuck Pagano. Of the eight possible coaches interviewed, Pagano, the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, was selected to take over the reigns of one the most elite (but recently troubled) franchises in the NFL.
“In the end, I really feel that Chuck is bringing in an energy,” Colts owner Jim Irsay stated, as he introduced his new head coach. “A connection with his players, a toughness. The sort of leadership you need at this point for the franchise.”
Pagano brings with him a toughness, and possibly, a long-overdue new defensive scheme to this team. He goes from coaching the linebacker-led Ravens 3-4 defense, to a smaller Colts defense, which has been built on speed and primarily the pass rush for much of the last decade.
Pagano took the podium in front of the Indianapolis media for the first time on Thursday afternoon. “I’ve spent 28 years of my life in coaching, waiting for this opportunity. My whole thing is, we’re gonna build this on trust and relationships and commitment and dedication. I understand what I just signed up for.”
Pagano inherits the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, and has to help Irsay and new general manager Ryan Grigson decide what to do or who to take with that coveted spot. Pagano also has to shoulder the burden of the Peyton Manning injury issues, as well as many expiring contracts for current Colts players.
The last two defensive coordinators from the Ravens to become head coaches were Marvin Lewis with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Rex Ryan with the New York Jets. Ryan led the Jets to the AFC championship game twice in the last three seasons. Lewis has had an up and down career in Ohio, but his team did sweep the AFC north in 2010, and made the playoffs this season.