Will Sunday Be The Final Game For Chuck Pagano As Colts Head Coach?
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INDIANAPOLIS – If past history means anything, Sunday will be Chuck Pagano’s last game as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
Pagano’s Colts head into Week 17 having lost 6 straight games.
The last 4 times the Colts endured a losing streak of at least 6 games in a season, the coach lost his job (2011-Jim Caldwell, 1997-Lindy Infante, 1991-Ron Meyer/Rick Venturi, 1986-Rod Dowhower).
For Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard they will have to fire Pagano, if they deem such a move is necessary, with the head coach under contract through the 2019 season.
In examining the evidence for or against Pagano, it’s much easier to make the latter case.
While the loss of Andrew Luck for large chunks of the last 3 seasons has played a major reason for the Colts’ recent struggles, there are other issues not pertaining directly to Luck:
- In Pagano’s 6 years, the defensive-minded head coach has led the Colts to the following defensive rankings: 20th, 26th, 11th, 26th, 30th, 30th.
- The Colts have not been able to develop young defensive talent, which Pagano had some say in evaluating and drafting. Names like OLB-Bjoern Werner, CB-D’Joun Smith and S-T.J. Green all have been greatly underachieving high draft picks.
- The Colts’ 3 wins this season came against 3 of the worst teams in the NFL (Cleveland, San Francisco and Houston). The 3 quarterbacks in those games have combined to win just 1 game this season and have a record of 1-27 in 2017.
- For those wanting to play the ‘Luck card’ for the reason why the Colts are 3-12 this season, that’s understandable. But don’t tell that to a Minnesota Vikings (12-3) team in line for a bye in the NFC despite backup quarterback Case Keenum starting for 13 games and losing starting rookie running back Dalvin Cook a month into the season.
- The days of Luck bailing out the Colts in one-possession games are long gone. After going 19-4 (.826) in one-possession games form 2012-14, the Colts are just 16-15 (.516) in such contests since.
Any time a perennial winning franchise misses the playoffs in multiple seasons for the first time in more than 20 years, changes are inevitable.
The general manger was let go last year.
The head coach could very well be next.