Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Surprise, Pagano named Colts head coach
By Jamison Hensley
When Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano got to interview for the Indianapolis Colts' head coaching job, I thought it was a good first step that would help him prepare for the future when he had a better shot at becoming one.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano (right) helped the Baltimore Ravens achieve a 12-4 record in 2011.
Pagano had never interviewed for a head coaching job. He was only one year removed from being a secondary coach.
"It's difficult to leave the Ravens, but I couldn't pass up on this great opportunity," Pagano said in a statement released by the Ravens. "I'm just thrilled and so excited."
Pagano is exactly what a Colts team needs in what should be an offseason of change in Indianapolis. He has a take-charge approach that was beloved and respected by the Ravens players. His enthusiasm is infectious.
When a Ravens defensive back broke up a big pass in practice, he's on the sideline starting the chant of that player's name. And, during last year's training camp, when the defense stopped Joe Flacco a few yards short of the end zone in a two-minute drill to end practice, Pagano was the first one running on the field with his fist raised high.
He exudes confidence and wants his players to be aggressive. As a coach, he's been known to throw hats and headsets in fits of anger. As a college player in the early '80s, he was known for delivering big hits — "a headhunter," as Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson once put it — as a 155-pound safety at Wyoming.
When he talks, it's a mixture of brashness and a sense of humor. His approach is Rex Ryan light.
Once asked if he ever considered working again for the Raiders, Pagano said, "a two-year sentence in Oakland is enough."