AFC North: Chuck Pagano

PITTSBURGH -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians did not see his forced retirement coming in 2012.

ESPN’s Tim Keown wrote an excellent profile on Arians and chronicled the winding road Arians took to a head coaching job in the NFL.

The part of the piece that will really resonate with Steelers fans is when Arians recalls getting a phone call from coach Mike Tomlin, not long after Pittsburgh had been bounced out of the playoffs by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.

“I thought he was calling about a raise,” Arians told Keown. “Tells you what I know.”

After Tomlin informed Arians that his contract would not be renewed, the latter went along with the company line that Arians had decided to call it a coaching career. The Steelers eventually hired Todd Haley to take over for Arians.

When former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano landed the head job in Indianapolis, it also resurrected Arians’ coaching career.

He joined Pagano’s staff as an offensive coordinator and served as the interim head coach when Pagano was getting treated for leukemia.

The job that Arians did that season in Indianapolis led to his hiring by the Arizona Cardinals, and he has been one of the NFL’s most successful head coach since 2013.

Keown has a terrific statistic in his story: The Steelers were 55-25 with Arians as the offensive coordinator and they are 19-19 with Haley.

That comparison does require a little context.

The Steelers generally had really good to great defenses when Arians was the offensive coordinator from 2007-11. The Steelers have fielded middling defenses since Haley joined he organization in 2012.

As much as some want to bash Haley, it would be revisionist to suggest that Arians was beloved by Steelers fans when he was calling the plays.

It is also worth remembering that the Steelers won their share of game from 2007-11 in spite of their offense though Arians often had to make do with a banged-up offensive line.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh knows Sunday's game in Indianapolis is going to be louder than the previous road trip to Cleveland.

The Colts play their home games indoors, for one. There's also that talk about the Colts artificially amplifying the sound when visiting teams are on offense.

"Rumor has it, they pipe crowd noise in there," Harbaugh said Monday. "So, we'll see if that's the case or not."

When asked if that's illegal, Harbaugh said with a smile, "Yes it is. That's the rumor. Sorry, Chuck."

Chuck Pagano, the Colts head coach, was a Ravens assistant under Harbaugh for four seasons. So, call this a playful jab at his former defensive coordinator.

The Ravens are 0-2 at Lucas Oil Stadium, losing by a combined score of 51-6 against Colts teams quarterbacked by Peyton Manning. In those two losses, the Ravens committed 11 penalties. In comparison, the Ravens have been flagged for 16 penalties in the first four games of this season, one of the lowest penalty totals in the league.

That trend of reduced mistakes has to continue for the Ravens as they play four of their next five games on the road.

"The challenge is you got to go play another team in their environment," Harbaugh said. "That takes an incredible amount of discipline and poise. The more disciplined and poised we are, the more able we are to execute and tune out the noise."

How that noise is actually generated depends on whom you ask.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts want to improve on being 26th in the league in stopping the run last season.

There’s no better place to start than at nose tackle.

Aubrayo Franklin is a free agent after starting there last season.

The Colts are still high on Josh Chapman, but that’s a position where you need multiple bodies.

A name to keep an eye on once free agency starts Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET is Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones. Colts coach Chuck Pagano is familiar with Jones from when he was defensive coordinator of the Ravens.

Jones had a career-high 53 tackles to go with four sacks last season. Franklin and Chapman combined for 44 tackles and zero sacks last season.

The Colts have the salary-cap space to pay Jones, who is only 27 years old.

“He has definitely put himself in a position that teams could definitely bid on him very high because if you put the tape on, they’re going to like him a lot,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters during the NFL scouting combine last month. “… It’s probably the one contract that he’ll have a chance to sign, a real big one. Guys that sign two big contracts, that’s very unusual. Three almost never happens, so you never feel bad about a guy getting an opportunity.”

Here’s a look at some other defensive tackles who will be on the market:

INDIANAPOLIS -- Terrell Suggs signed an extension with Baltimore on Monday that could keep him with the Ravens for the next five years. If Suggs does play out his contract, he’ll become only the third defensive player drafted in the past 30 years to play at least 16 years with the same team, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Ronde Barber (16 years) and Ray Lewis (17 years) accomplished the feat with Tampa Bay and Baltimore, respectively.

Suggs isn’t the only defensive player with a chance to also play at least 16 years with the same team.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis is in line to do it, too.

Mathis was selected by the Colts in the 2003 draft. He's not showing any signs of slowing down now that he’s in his comfort zone in coach Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme.

Mathis, who will be 33 later this month, is coming off the best season of his 11-year career. He led the league in sacks with 19.5 and finished second in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting.

Mathis has two years remaining on his current contract. He and the Colts will have to agree to at least one more deal in order for him to join Lewis, Barber and possibly Suggs in elite company.

Double Coverage: Colts at Bengals

December, 5, 2013
Maualuga-BrownAP PhotoRey Maualuga and the Cincinnati Bengals know the Indianapolis Colts will try to establish the running game with Donald Brown.
After holding off the Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers last weekend, respectively, the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals come into this Sunday's showdown with one another knowing the stakes have been raised.

Whichever division leader emerges victorious from Paul Brown Stadium will have the No. 3 playoff seeding, and most likely will retain it, barring a complete collapse across the final three weeks of the season. The only other reason they wouldn't retain the No. 3 seed? Because they would have the No. 2 seed. Currently, the New England Patriots have that.

Cincinnati could claim that this weekend with a win and a Patriots loss. The Bengals have a tiebreaker over New England after beating the Patriots in October.

Like Sunday's game, that one was in Cincinnati. The Bengals are 5-0 at home, providing an added layer of difficulty for the Colts. Why have the Bengals been so good there? How can the Colts prevent losing their No. 3 seed? ESPN NFL Nation Bengals reporter Coley Harvey and Colts reporter Mike Wells have the answers to those questions and more.

Coley Harvey: Mike, there are so many different places I could go with this first question, but I really want to ask about the Colts’ rushing game. Bengals fans certainly were intrigued when the Trent Richardson trade deal went down earlier this season because they knew their team still had to face him this year, even if he was no longer playing for the division-rival Browns. He’s had a rough go of it in Indy, prompting Donald Brown’s start this past Sunday. Does Indianapolis believe Brown really is the back who will lead it through the postseason?

Mike Wells: The Colts hope the demotion will turn out to be a good thing for Richardson. I know that sounds crazy considering the Colts gave up a first-round pick to acquire Richardson. Not starting should ease some of the pressure on Richardson because he’s had a problem of overthinking since he joined the team. Brown may be the starter now, but coach Chuck Pagano will go with the hot hand during the game. So all it takes is a few big runs by Richardson and he’ll be back in the mix. The trade so far is completely in Cleveland’s favor, but this setback doesn’t mean the Colts are throwing in the towel on Richardson. They really can’t afford to when you think about all they gave up to acquire him. The Bengals have excelled at playing at home. What makes them a dangerous team there?

Harvey: That’s a good question. I’d say the weather has made them dangerous. The crowd has made them pretty dangerous, too. The reason I say the weather has made them dangerous is because twice this season, coach Marvin Lewis has been accurate in his prediction of what the weather would do. Back in early October, he smartly told his players to expect a sudden rain shower late in a game against the Patriots. A fourth-quarter monsoon came right when New England got the football for the last time and attempted a comeback drive. Tom Brady couldn’t complete a pass. The rains were too hard. Eventually, Adam Jones intercepted Brady with 16 seconds remaining, clinching a big early-season Cincinnati win. Against the Browns three weeks ago, Lewis also told his players not to worry about the possibility of a delay that some weathermen had predicted. He was right. The game went along mostly smoothly, and about an hour after play, a line of strong storms moved through the area.

In addition to the advantage “meteorologist” Marvin gives them, the Bengals have had a great lift from their fans. Every game has been a sellout, and has had some moment in it that sent the crowd into a frenzy that’s barely been seen since the team moved from the old Riverfront Stadium. The Bengals are confident they’ll keep getting that energy the rest of the season.

Andrew Luck has played in some meaningful games already in his young career. Most notably this season, he gutted out a win during Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis. Because of what’s at stake in Sunday’s game, how much confidence do you think Luck’s big-game play gives the Colts, Mike?

Wells: Luck will have to carry the Colts if they expect to go into Cincy and get the victory. The former No. 1 overall pick doesn’t have much to work with on offense now that veteran receiver Reggie Wayne is out for the season with the torn ACL. Opponents have found a way to slow T.Y. Hilton down lately by sending help over the top. Tight end Coby Fleener is doing what he can to help Luck out. I’m not even going to talk about receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. The running game can’t gain any traction and the offensive line has struggled this season. That leaves Luck having to improvise and do what he can to make things work. That won’t be an easy task since the Bengals have the sixth-best defense in the league. The Bengals probably like their chances at being able to sack Luck. He’s been sacked 29 times this season.

Speaking of quarterbacks, there seemed to be different stories floating around earlier this season that questioned whether Andy Dalton could win big games. Do you think he has the ability to take the Bengals to the next level?

Harvey: In all honesty, it’s tough to say, Mike. Dalton has been so inconsistent this season that it’s tough to actually believe he’ll be able to put this team on his back and be as successful as Luck has proven to be. That said, it looks like the Bengals learned something about Dalton and the rest of their offense in San Diego this past weekend. They discovered that with a little help from a solid running game, their passing game can actually produce big, explosive plays.

For a four-game stretch in October, Dalton looked like he would be able to make the Bengals an unbeatable force come the postseason. But since then, he hasn’t been as efficient and he hasn’t had the same type of prolific passing numbers. After throwing for more than 300 yards in four straight games in October, Dalton has hit the 200-yard mark just once since. Two games ago, against Cleveland, he didn’t even reach 100. If the Bengals are going to make noise in the playoffs, it’s probably not going to be because of Dalton. It most likely will be because of their defense.

Speaking of defenses, tell us about the Colts’ defense. What has contributed to its struggles this year, particularly against the run?

Wells: The Colts have struggled to stop the run all season -- 28th in the league -- and things may get worse for them. Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois is out two to four weeks with a partial tear of his plantar fascia. Fili Moala will start in his place. Stopping the run is just one problem for Indianapolis. The secondary has also had a difficult time stopping teams from passing on them. It all started when cornerback Greg Toler went down five games ago with a groin injury. But the defense stepped up by forcing four turnovers, including three interceptions, against Tennessee on Sunday. And there’s a chance Toler will be back in the lineup this weekend. The rest of the secondary feeds off of Toler’s energy. It’s a perfect time for Toler to return because the Colts can use his help to try to slow down receiver A.J. Green, who is averaging 91.9 yards a game receiving.

Like Pagano, Marvin Lewis is a defensive coach. What makes the Bengals' defense so successful?

Harvey: It starts with the combination of Lewis' background and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. The pair of defensive gurus have established quite the formidable two-headed monster for the Bengals, coming up with a slew of adjustments and lineup tweaks that has made the unit one of the best in the league, even when it maybe shouldn't be. Injuries have ravaged the Bengals' defense, most notably at defensive tackle (Geno Atkins) and cornerback (Leon Hall). The fact Will linebacker Vontaze Burfict has come on and had an unbelievably strong sophomore season has helped, too. The former undrafted free agent leads the NFL in tackles and played last week on a bad ankle. Because of his near-reckless style of play and the fact Zimmer's scheme has produced results, the Bengals believe in their system and that has made them successful.

Whenever the Indianapolis Colts return to Baltimore, they're seen as the bad guys by local fans who still remember the franchise leaving town on a snowy night nearly 29 years ago. In Sunday's wild-card game, the roles will be reversed.

No one outside of Baltimore is going to be rooting for the Ravens to beat the Colts, a team that has struck an emotional chord with the football world. The Colts have rallied around coach Chuck Pagano's battle against leukemia, going from the NFL's worst team in 2011 to a playoff one in 2012. Pagano has become a beloved figure since last month, when the largely bald and frail-looking coach left the hospital for a day to give an emotional locker-room speech to his players.

Anyone who isn't wearing a purple jersey will be pulling for ChuckStrong, the term that has signified Pagano's fighting spirit. And, up to this point, those wearing purple jerseys were rooting for the Colts and Pagano, who was Baltimore's defensive coordinator last season.

When Pagano was first diagnosed in late September, he sent a text message to John Harbaugh that the head coach shared with the team. When it was reported that Pagano's cancer was in remission, several Ravens tweeted #chuckstrong. Defensive tackle Art Jones even shaved his head in support of Pagano last month.

"He’s a great friend, and I have tremendous respect for him personally," Harbaugh said Sunday. "I love his family, and he’s one of my closest personal friends in coaching. What he’s been through is phenomenal, but we’re all competitors, so that gets set aside. They’re going to come in here with every intention of winning the football game, so we’re going to have to play our best football in order to beat them.”

Perhaps the closest Ravens player to Pagano is safety Ed Reed. Their ties date back to the time when Reed was recruited to play college football at Miami by Pagano. They exchanged texts as recently as Christmas.

"He’s like a dad to me," Reed said. "That’s family, which is first before football."

By Sunday, the Ravens have to beat the man they respect so much to get one step closer to their ultimate goal. And only the Ravens and their fans are hoping that happens.
The AFC North blog wants to wish Colts head coach Chuck Pagano a full and speedy recovery as he battles acute promyelocytic leukemia.

During my time with Pagano, who spent four years with the Ravens, including one year as their defensive coordinator, you quickly learned that he was a fighter.

He wasn't afraid to get into his players' faces for a heated exchange on the sideline. As an assistant at East Carolina, he challenged a linebacker to a wrestling match -- and won. Pagano was also known for trash talking in racquetball games. His fiery spirit goes back to the days when he walked on to the Wyoming football team and left as a two-year starter with a reputation for hitting players bigger than him.

It was that aggressive mindset and defensive schemes that helped Pagano reached one of his goals this year, when he was named head coach of the Colts. It was his first head-coaching position after 28 years of being a coordinator, position coach and graduate assistant.

Pagano, who turns 52 on Tuesday, isn't expected to return in a regular full-time capacity this season, although the prognosis for a full recovery is promising. He will undergo four to six months of treatment, including chemotherapy. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has been named interim coach.

Cards and notes of support be sent to Pagano at the Colts' headquarters: P.O. Box 53500, Indianapolis, IN 46253. No flowers will be accepted.
Tom Zbikowski, the former Ravens safety, couldn't believe what he saw at his first Colts training camp. Someone in the stands was wearing a Steelers jersey.

Zbikowski pointed out the fan to Colts first-year head coach Chuck Pagano, and the former Ravens defensive coordinator worked a deal to get Zach Simmons to change into an Andrew Luck jersey.

“It took some prying, it wasn’t easy,” Pagano said, via the Indianapolis Star.

Simmons, who has a tattoo on his right shoulder and had a Terrible Towel in hand, wanted to catch the eye of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who had the same job with the Steelers, and former Steelers running back Mewelde Moore.

"For an ex-Raven, I was surprised, he was a real nice guy,” the fan said of Pagano.

It's nice to see that the Ravens-Steelers rivalry doesn't go away even when you leave one of those teams. Remember in March when former Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said he couldn't go to the Steelers in free agency because "I would've had to throw up on my jersey every time we played."

As far as Pagano, it took some moxie to approach a fan, especially one wearing a James Harrison jersey. But the fan was lucky that he wore his jersey to watch the Colts and not the Jets. My guess is Rex Ryan, another former Ravens defensive coordinator, would have used a few expletives in his chat with him.
Former Baltimore defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is expected to bring a Ravens-style defense to Indianapolis. He could be taking some Ravens players along with him, as well.

Ravens free-agent defensive end Cory Redding is engaged with talks with the Colts, and is scheduled to visit Indianapolis tonight, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. This could just be the beginning for Pagano, who might also target linebackers Jarret Johnson and Jameel McClain.

Losing Redding would not be a critical blow to the Ravens, even though the nine-year veteran had his best season in years. Redding finished with 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

The Ravens have been prepared to replace Redding with two emerging young prospects in Pernell McPhee and Art Jones.
There's a full-blown AFC North reunion going on with the Indianapolis Colts' coaching staff this year.

The Colts plan to hire Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler as their defensive coordinator, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. In his nine years with Pittsburgh, Butler has been instrumental in the development of three Pro Bowl linebackers: James Farrior, James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.

This comes a day after the Colts added former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to run their offense. So, new Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, the former Ravens defensive coordinator, is bringing along two Steelers coaches to run his offense and defense.

But the AFC North ties run deeper than that. Pagano, Arians and Butler were together on Butch Davis' Browns coaching staff for two seasons (2001-02). I'm still trying to figure out how the Bengals play a part in this so every AFC North team is represented in this weekend's Colts coaching moves.
Former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' "retirement" lasted eight days. And Arians has landed in an unlikely destination.

Arians has agreed to become the Indianapolis Colts' new offensive coordinator, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Why is that so unlikely?

Well, this move means last year's Steelers offensive coordinator will join last year's Ravens defensive coordinator. Chuck Pagano was named the Colts' head coach two days ago. Guess there is more respect than hate in the Steelers-Ravens rivalry, at least on the coaching end.

Arians' five-year run as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator was disappointing considering the talent he had at the skill positions. But he will be a good fit for the Colts' in terms of scheme.

He was responsible for the Steelers going from a run-first to a pass-heavy offense. Whether the Colts are sticking with Peyton Manning or drafting Andrew Luck, Indianapolis will rely heavily on the passing game. The hiring of Arians certainly points in that direction.

At this point, it's assumed that the Colts and Manning are headed for a split. But, as one of our blog readers (SteelBlitz27) pointed out, this is a reunion for Arians and Manning. Arians was Manning's first quarterbacks coach, serving that role from 1998 to 2000.

Arians' return to coaching was a quick one. On Jan. 20, the Steelers sent out an official statement saying Arians had informed coach Mike Tomlin that he was retiring. A few days later, Arians revealed that he was pushed out after team president Art Rooney II informed him that his contract was not being renewed.

The Steelers and Colts don't play each other in the regular season in 2012.
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:

A shocked Ben Roethlisberger wants answers from team president Art Rooney II following the "retirement" of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

"When I get back, I'm going to go up to Mr. Rooney's office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that's a viable question for him," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review at the Pro Bowl in Honolulu. "He's our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I'd like to tell him where I see us going."

The Steelers announced Arians had retired, but he later said his contract wasn't renewed by the team. Arians had been the only offensive coordinator in coach Mike Tomlin's five seasons as Steelers head coach.

Roethlisberger, who is close with Arians, invited him to Hawaii as his guest for the Pro Bowl, but Arians decided not to go after he was no longer with the team.

Roethlisberger was described as being "miffed" by the timing of the Steelers' move with Arians.

"We feel like we are really close to being an elite offense," Roethlisberger told the Tribune-Review. "For your leader to be gone is kind of a shocker for us, but you've got to be ready for it, and whatever the Rooneys and coach Tomlin decide is our next step. I think the [Steelers'] mind was made up, and B.A. was kind of ready to move on as well."

Hensley's slant: Roethlisberger has to be worried about the direction of the offense. Team sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Rooney wants the offense to go back to its blue-collar identity of the past. The trouble is, the Steelers are built to throw the ball with one of the best young and fast receiving groups in the league. You can criticize Arians' play calling. But it's hard to argue that the Steelers should go back to a run-first offense.

BENGALS: Mike Zimmer is returning for his fifth season as the Bengals defensive coordinator, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported, after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Rutgers' Greg Schiano as their head coach. Zimmer also had been in the running for the Miami Dolphins job before Joe Philbin was hired. While Zimmer is coming back, defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle is expected to be named the Dolphins' defensive coordinator. Hensley's slant: If the Bengals had their way, this is how it would have played out. Cincinnati didn't want to lose Coyle, but it was more important to keep Zimmer. The Bengals defense will remain a top-10 one under his direction.

BROWNS: Brad Childress is close to becoming the Browns' offensive coordinator, sources told The Plain Dealer. For more, click on the AFC North blog posted last night. Hensley's slant: My take on the probable hiring will be posted shortly.

RAVENS: In his introductory news conference as the new Colts head coach, former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said he went from an all-time low -- the loss in the AFC championship game was his most devastating one ever -- to an all-time high. “As fate would have it, I’ve got to be honest with you, I thought for sure that I was going to be coming to Indy to play for a world championship," Pagano said, via The Indianapolis Star. "That’s what I thought I was going to be coming here for, and certainly not standing before you today as the next head football coach of the Indianapolis Colts." Hensley's slant: Don't be surprised if Pagano takes some Ravens with him. Pagano's first target should be outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, who will be a free agent, because he'll need a leader who can explain the defensive system to the other players. It would be like when Rex Ryan brought Bart Scott along to the New York Jets. Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks could also follow Pagano to Indianapolis.
The Ravens' players thought they might lose a coordinator this offseason. But everyone thought it would be Cam Cameron and not Chuck Pagano.

Losing Pagano -- who was named the Colts' new head coach Wednesday -- is a big shock and a big blow to the Ravens' defense. He did more than take Baltimore from being the 10th-ranked defense to the third-ranked one. Pagano brought back the swagger to a Ravens defense that had lost its way.

Changing defensive coordinators is nothing new to the Ravens. They've maintained success in going from Marvin Lewis to Mike Nolan to Rex Ryan. But it's different with losing Pagano. There's an uneasiness now because of what preceded him.

Before Pagano took over the defense, Baltimore rarely blitzed and recorded a team record-low 27 sacks in 2010 under coordinator Greg Mattison. In their first season under Pagano, the Ravens went into attack mode and finished first in the AFC with 48 sacks.

The front-runner to replace Pagano is linebackers coach Dean Pees, who was the Patriots' defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2009. The Ravens also could look at defensive line coach Clarence Brooks.

Whoever it is, the new coordinator can't allow the aggressiveness on defense to leave with Pagano, who wasn't afraid to blitz linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks. Under Pagano, the Ravens' defense played like the one of old. Pressuring the quarterback led to turnovers, which led to easy scores. The Ravens led the NFL with 21 forced fumbles this season, which was three more than any other team.

The Ravens took on the personality of Pagano, who took pride in being a gambler when it came to defense.

"My motto's always been: They can fire you but they can't eat you," Pagano said during the season. "If we go down, we're going down saying we put it all out there. Not that we want to be stupid. We have to take calculated risks. But we will let the fur fly."

The Ravens' challenge isn't finding another defensive coordinator. They have to find another risk-taker.
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.

[+] EnlargeJohn Harbaugh and the Ravens host the 3-2 Texans in Week 6.
Icon SMIDefensive 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.

But surprise — Pagano was named the new head coach of the Colts today, as first reported by Pro Football Talk.

"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."