By now most of you are aware that Chuck Pagano is no longer the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The 57-year-old Pagano got his walking papers just after the Texans game last Sunday. Which, incidentally was a victory and put the Horseshoe at 4-12 for the season and a tie for third place in the AFC South. This really came as a surprise to no one as Chuck had been hanging on by a thread since the seventh game of the season. GM Chris Ballard had little communication with Pagano and it was not a question of if, but when. Chuck Pagano is a decent and honorable man and this isn’t the time or place for disparaging remarks.
Don’t look for Ballard to name a new coach immediately. He is on his own. Jim Irsay will keep out of the process. There are already some possible candidates being identified to replace him. Josh McDaniel’s, the Patriot offensive coordinator, may be in the running. McDaniels was a head coach for the Broncos but got caught up in the Tim Tebow controversy. He says he has grown up a bit since then. Kris Richard, the Seahawks defensive coordinator, was the developer of the Legion of Boom defensive backfield. Steve Wilks, the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator, did a lot with a little in Carolina. Frank Reich, the offensive coordinator for Philadelphia Eagles, who worked miracles with Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense in 2017. Matt Nagy, the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, was hired by Ballard to work with the Chief’s quarterbacks in 2014 and he has done a very good job with Alex Smith. Another Chief’s coach to consider is Dave Toub, the Kansas City special teams coordinator. Toub is another Ballard hire and he is said to think Toub could be a very effective head man. The Chief’s special teams have been outstanding under his watch.
There are other candidates that will be considered, of course. It’s more than likely that most of the assistant coaches will be replaced so there will be a great deal of movement in the Colts coaching staff. It could be several months before we see all the open positions filled.
“Chucky” in Las Vegas
ESPN prognosticator and broadcast color man Jon Gruden is expected to be hired as the new head coach of the now Oakland, soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders. Jack Del Rio was let go after the team experienced a hugely disappointing season in which the they finished third in the AFC West with a 6-10 record after being expected to challenge for a Super Bowl run. Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998 until 2002 but clashed with management and his contract was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he led the team to a Super Bowl victory. It’s said that part of the deal will be a piece of team ownership.
2017 WV Team Awards for the Colts
When a team goes 4-12 it is not easy for somebody to be named as a “Most Valuable Player.” Despite their lack of on-the-field success, there are a couple of players who shined in the face of adversity. Frank Gore, the old warhorse was a warrior for the Colts. He gave 110% every week and never complained or pointed fingers. He is a sure fire Hall of Famer but will be one of those great players who never gets a chance to wear a championship ring. At age 34 he still is one tough dude and is my choice for the Horseshoe MVP
The Rookie of the Year is punter Rigoberto Sanchez. A free agent from the University of Hawaii, Sanchez jumped in to fill the shoes of fan favorite Pat Macafee. He did his job with little fanfare, punting, kicking off, and holding for Adam Vinatieri. Special teams were the least of the Colt’s problems this year. Congratulations to Mr. Sanchez.
Draft Place in 2018
Do not be troubled. The Colts’ victory Sunday didn’t change the Colts picking order in the upcoming 2018 College player draft. They will still pick third behind the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants. The Browns and the Giants are both said to be quarterback hunting which leaves the Colts with a bunch of options for a blue chip prospect. More on this later.