Amidst rumors of a front-office clash in Indianapolis, Colts owner Jim Irsay could be mulling over a huge philosophical switch to bring in a big-name head coach for the 2016 season and beyond.
According to Albert Breer of NFL.com, Irsay won’t likely keep head coach Chuck Pagano around after the 2015 season if the Colts don’t make vast improvements in the playoffs.
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Since taking over for Jim Caldwell in 2012 — the same year in which the Colts drafted quarterback Andrew Luck — Indy has been ousted from postseason play rather unceremoniously, with bad losses to the New England Patriots the past couple of seasons and a bad loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Luck’s rookie campaign.
After assembling what many believe could be a championship roster, expectations couldn’t be higher for this year’s club. However, during the offseason, rumors of discontent between Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson began to emerge. Much like what we witnessed in San Francisco during Jim Harbaugh’s final season, there is already a feeling the Colts are headed for a breakup with Pagano — a rumor Irsay has denied vehemently.
That said, Breer does believe Irsay might be ready for a change, and if he does make a move it could be a big one. If he does hire a new coach following the 2015 season, “he might be ready to go big-game hunting, which could change the structure of the organization.”
One thing is certain: In order for an NFL franchise to function smoothly over the long haul, there needs to be cohesion between the general manager and head coach.
Any coach that falls under the “big-game” umbrella is likely to be interested in making their own personnel moves, a la Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles, which means Grigson would need to head out the door, too.
We’ll put a pin in this story for later. Given the consistency with which these rumors and theories are emerging regarding Indianapolis’ growing rift with coach Pagano, there is surely some fire behind all this smoke.