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Was Chuck Pagano really that bad of a HC

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I've just been thinking about this question for awhile, I mean, we accomplished a decent amount with a bad roster over the years Pagano was coaching. Should that be attributed to luck? Was he really that good? I mean that roster under Pagano was horrid looking back at it. Yes his "chopping wood" sayings would get a little long in the tooth but other than that. I don't think he was as bad a coach as some indicate. But maybe that's just me. 

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Yes and no. 

 

His GM did him no favours with stupid FA signings and maddening draft picks. And generally could never put a great team on the field. 

 

Pagano's clock management, and perceived lack of holding people accountable was not good. The idea of him being a soft coach really sunk him. 

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A coach is only as good as his co-ordinators and assistant coaches. The staff assembled wasn't impressive in the long run once Bruce Arians left, IMO. We had flashes of it but not much consistency in game planning, game in and game out on both offense and defense. Playing Vontae Davis on Antonio Brown when he did better vs big bodied WRs too many times to see it fail, not being prepared enough for defending wham blocks by the TE from NE for several games etc. are just a few examples off the top of my head.

 

Andrew Luck, like Peyton Manning, covered a lot of blemishes on the roster. Plus, without OL upgrades, dusting off the Arians playbook and running longer developing routes as a big part of your offense eventually was bound to catch up with Luck and it did. Pagano was supposed to be a defensive guru but our D stunk for the most part, if you ask me, mainly due to lack of talent. When Pagano had talent like the Ravens had when he was DC or the Bears have right now when he is currently DC, he shone.

 

You can be a mild mannered coach all you want but you need to make the right adjustments and game plans to win week in and week out. Having Manning and Luck can make head coaches look good, now Reich will have to earn his stripes with a new QB.

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Grigson is far more to blame than CP. I liked CP as a person, but he was soft. He had some bad luck too.

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He wasn’t as bad as he’s made out to be here at times but he wasn’t great either.  I think someday if he wants it he will get another shot.  

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He was solidly okay (never close to the top 1/3 of coaches) and benefited as did the whole organization from Luck's stellar start. 

 

Grigson couldn't draft. That's a big chunk of that era's story. I'm curious if/when more dirt about this time comes to light.

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Pagano imo failed because of Andrew. You have a sure fire HOF QB and you break him. Andrew was fed to the lions and Pagano and Grigson did him no favors

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1 minute ago, CR91 said:

Pagano imo failed because of Andrew. Andrew was fed to the lions and Pagano and Grigson did him no favors

 

Arians did him no favors, also.

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17 minutes ago, The Fish said:

He was solidly okay (never close to the top 1/3 of coaches) and benefited as did the whole organization from Luck's stellar start. 

 

Grigson couldn't draft. That's a big chunk of that era's story. I'm curious if/when more dirt about this time comes to light.

It always makes me interested to know the story behind grigson, because that guy should get an award for how he got a Job he was absolutely not qualified for. 

Just now, buccolts said:

 

Arians did him no favors, also.

Agreed.

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20 minutes ago, MTC said:

There were too many games to count where the team looked unprepared and outmatched, which resulted in blowout losses. 

That is true also, I couldn't believe how unprepared the colts looked at times. 

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43 minutes ago, The Fish said:

He was solidly okay (never close to the top 1/3 of coaches) and benefited as did the whole organization from Luck's stellar start. 

 

Grigson couldn't draft. That's a big chunk of that era's story. I'm curious if/when more dirt about this time comes to light.

 

You can look at it in two ways. One is Grigson wasn't able to draft quality players, and Pagano wasn't able to do much with them. On the other hand, Grigson drafted players with talent, but Pagano wasn't able to develop them.

 

Either way, the pairing didn't work out.

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1 hour ago, MTC said:

 

You can look at it in two ways. One is Grigson wasn't able to draft quality players, and Pagano wasn't able to do much with them. On the other hand, Grigson drafted players with talent, but Pagano wasn't able to develop them.

 

Either way, the pairing didn't work out.

Well, you're right about the team getting blown out and looking clueless in the second half of games very often. I dunno that Chuck was developmental coach, but I really did put that on the talent. I don't blame coaching for Trent Richardson, Bjorn Werner, Hugh Thorton ect. Lot's of guys who never really showed much of anything to be improved upon.

 

But thinking this over, there's a solid argument that Chuck was bad.

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1 hour ago, MTC said:

 

You can look at it in two ways. One is Grigson wasn't able to draft quality players, and Pagano wasn't able to do much with them. On the other hand, Grigson drafted players with talent, but Pagano wasn't able to develop them.

 

Either way, the pairing didn't work out.

 

This. And Pagano should never have been allowed anywhere near the Draft 

War Room. Woerner, the TJ Green kid from Clemson and D'John Smith were all guys that Pagano lobbied hard for.

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No, but I think we saw his ceiling, and it wasn't much higher than occasional playoff contention. He was highly respected by the players and everyone he worked with, and did some good things motivationally, but his game management was problematic. And some of his philosophical preferences weren't ideal, IMO -- specifically his choice in offensive coordinators. 

 

He's not as bad as he's made out to be here, but it was definitely time for him to go.

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I disliked both...and wanted to move on very early in the process. So I think the blame is on both. Grigs was a poor talent evaluator. 

 

I get blaming it on Grigs...but BA won 11 games when Pagano was out. 

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Grigs was more responsible but Pagan made enough boneheaded decisions.  

 

The fake punt play where he didn't communicate his new wrinkle to Grif Whalen.

 

On a critical passing down towards the end of the game with Von Miller he assigned a person who is basically a backup tackle at best to block Von Miller 1 on 1 with no chip help.  That resulted in a strip sack.

 

He didn't have much to work with on defense but you kind of got the feeling that Pagano's presence wasn't really making our defense greater than the sum of it's parts.  Whereas I think both last year and this year Frank Reich's offense was clearly greater than the sum of it's parts.  And I think for the first half of last season the team was successful in part because Reich was able to cover up Brissett's defects.  

 

The other thing that I am reminded of is that Pagano's teams where remarkably inconsistent.  They would go and beat the eventual SB champs and then next week get blown out by a team that was like 2-10.  It's pretty cool of course to play above your weight class and beat some really good teams.  But at the same time Pagano's teams would lay some stinkers and lose to some of the worst teams in the league. . . and not just lose but loose BAD.  

 

I still can't forget a game against the Rams, forget what year it is, but all I remember is the Rams where coached by Jeff Fisher, where the laughing stock of the league but the Colts got completely murdered by them, lost by like 30 points.  

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I don't think he was a horrible head coach.  As someone said, his ceiling wasn't high.   It seems he is a better fir as a D coordinator.   I certainly wish him well with the Bears, by all accounts he is a good stand up guy that I wouldn't mind having a beer with.  

Head coaching record - 53 wins  43 losses

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5 hours ago, lollygagger8 said:

3rd and goal, game on the line.....Colts fumble the ball...

 

Chuck: 

 

giphy.gif

 

 

Pagano: "It's like the movie groundhog day." Remember that crap? I'm glad Chuck is chopping wood somewhere else.

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8 hours ago, EastStreet said:

Grigson is far more to blame than CP. I liked CP as a person, but he was soft. He had some bad luck too.

Grigson :flaming:

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Luck covered up so many Pagano's mistakes.Chuck should have gave him half his salary I will never forget that crazy formation against the Pats :facepalm:

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1 hour ago, colts8718 said:

Grigson :flaming:

Yup. I blame him for Luck and so many other things. Dark days... lol

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You know, I liked him, you know, as a guy, you know.  Great guy, you know.  But, you know, he was, you know, really terrible on the radio, you know.  Couldn't, you know, stand listening to him speak, you know.  Not sure what it was I didn't like.  (you know)

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He was a good man and the players were loyal to him, but no, he wasn't a great coach. Grigson was partly to blame. But Pagano didn't have what it takes 'upstairs' to be a good coach. He exhibited poor judgement. The infamous 'fake punt' is the prime example. No coach in his right mind should have ever allowed that play to take place. There's no excuse. And then there were all the other things, like preparation, play-calling and clock management. 

 

Frank Reich is a definite upgrade.

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Yes and no.  I think Pagano was a very good team motivator and I think players played hard for him.  Where I think Pagano was not a good HC was developing player improvement plans.  I don't think he really knew how to guide the OCs and position coaches on how to evaluate the players and develop their skills so they could improve both their weaknesses and their strengths.

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20 hours ago, Valpo2004 said:

I still can't forget a game against the Rams, forget what year it is, but all I remember is the Rams where coached by Jeff Fisher, where the laughing stock of the league but the Colts got completely murdered by them, lost by like 30 points.  

 

Same year they beat Denver, Seattle and San Fran, three of the four conference finalists that year. Kind of handled the Niners, by the way. 

 

You mentioned wildly inconsistent, that year they were dramatically inconsistent. Also young, new offense, basically a new coach, and a lot of injuries (Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne, etc.)

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20 hours ago, shastamasta said:

I disliked both...and wanted to move on very early in the process.

 

It would have been crazy to move on from either of them after 2014, but starting in 2015, everything went bad. That was also the year Luck got hurt.

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42 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

It would have been crazy to move on from either of them after 2014, but starting in 2015, everything went bad. That was also the year Luck got hurt.

Luck was masking SO MANY issues with those teams. It's unreal. At least Chuck has the awareness and has admitted it himself that Luck bought him several more years than he deserved.

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Eh, Chuck was basically the Pacer's Nate McMillan with a football....  nice guy, great in the community, well loved by players....  but ultimately ineffectual.

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1 hour ago, Superman said:

 

Same year they beat Denver, Seattle and San Fran, three of the four conference finalists that year. Kind of handled the Niners, by the way. 

 

You mentioned wildly inconsistent, that year they were dramatically inconsistent. Also young, new offense, basically a new coach, and a lot of injuries (Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne, etc.)

 

Yeah I remember we went into San Fransisco and RAN all over the niners.  At that time with that OL the Colts running over anyone, much less a team that would get to the SB was shocking.  

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23 hours ago, indykmj said:

 

Pagano should never have been allowed anywhere near the Draft 

War Room. Woerner, the TJ Green kid from Clemson and D'John Smith were all guys that Pagano lobbied hard for.

Yup.  Its not like he lobbied for guys who were great just to be overruled.

 

Pagano, didn't make the pick, but his eye for talent was clueless too.  

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On 2/12/2020 at 10:58 AM, MTC said:

There were too many games to count where the team looked unprepared and outmatched, which resulted in blowout losses. 

This 

 

On 2/12/2020 at 11:14 AM, CR91 said:

Pagano imo failed because of Andrew. You have a sure fire HOF QB and you break him. Andrew was fed to the lions and Pagano and Grigson did him no favors

And this

 

No locker room accountability. Poor game planning. Poor in game decisions; challenges, going for it on 4th, kicking FGs, etc. 

 

The worst is not forcing better game planning and coaching to protect Luck from both his porous OL and himself.  
 

Pagano was an OK coordinator but a poor HC and was promoted beyond his capabilities based on star players making him look better than he was (i.e. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Ngata). He won’t get another HC opportunity. We’ll see how long he lasts in Chicago. 

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I’m glad some of you keep bring up clock management. Reich has the same problem. We seem to always run out of timeouts when we really need them. 

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He was an average coach, maybe above average. He wasn't good, very good, or great but he wasn't below average or bad either. He won a lot because of Luck but could've won more had Grigson drafted well. After the 2012 draft where he did steal TY (Luck was a no brainer), Grigson ruined the team 2013-2016 with his lack of ability to read talent and poor drafting. 

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