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And Another Thing


Pagano, Day Two


So now that I've had a night's sleep and a few more hours to think about it, here are a few more notions about Chuck Pagano, the new Colts coach:

1. By all accounts, he is the anti-Jim Caldwell, which is a good thing. Even under Tony Dungy, the Colts were frequently (and accurately) accused of being a bit too cerebral and dispassionate in the way they went about things. If nothing else, Pagano, a reputed live wire, will change that culture.

No one expects or wants Rex Ryan out of him, but Pagano will at least bring some fire. And for all their success these last 15 years, there have been some times when the Colts could have used some.

2. Along those lines, expect to say goodbye to the passive-aggressive Cover Two defense. Pagano's style is to blitz first and ask questions later, which means he'll likely turn loose the Colts' natural pass rushers more than they got turned loose under the Dungy/Caldwell scheme.

It's a high-risk strategy, granted. But in an era when the rules hugely reward the passing game, getting heat on the quarterback is even more paramount than it's ever been. So a point for Pagano there.

3. Not to beat the thing into unconsciousness, but just how much of a disadvantage is Pagano's lack of top-of-the-food-chain experience?

It's the aspect of this hire that most raises eyebrows, and should. It adds an element of the unknown that makes you more than a little queasy.

On the other hand, it's not like Pagano started doing this yesterday. He's been a coach for a quarter of a century at one level or another, and, if he's moved around a lot, that only means he's learned at the feet of a lot of knowledgeable football men. I don't know if that balances anything out, but it's at least another point in his favor.

After all, every great coach started where Pagano's been. So he's got that going for him.

Ben Smith's blog.