After an alarming 20-7 loss to the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano went off in his post-game press conference.
Pagano was especially hard on Andrew Luck, chiding Luck’s three interceptions and fumble and stressing the need to protect the ball.
However, in his criticism of Luck, Pagano seemed to take a shot at GM Ryan Grigson.
When asked if Luck is rushing because the offensive line isn’t giving him enough protection, Pagano told reporters:
“You know what, I’d have to sit down, honestly, and have a conversation. I don’t think so. That’s been the case for three years now. Has it not? He should be more than comfortable dealing with what he’s dealing with. We’ve got to get it fixed.”
While on the surface that’s a criticism of Luck adapting to a situation, it’s a veiled criticism of the job Grigson has done as GM: ‘Luck’s never had enough protection, so he should be used to it by now,’ basically.
Pagano is right to a point. According to Pro Football Focus, only one of the Colts offensive linemen earned a positive grade in protection, while free agent addition Todd Herremans struggled mightily against a good Jets defensive line, earning a horrid -10.9 grade.
Pagano’s subtle shot at Grigson only adds to the speculation of an internal rift in the Colts. After a Week 1 loss to the Bills, Bob Kravitz of WTHR Sports reported that Pagano may be on the hot seat as the Grigson and Colts owner Jim Irsay are losing faith in his ability to take the Colts to the next level.
While two early losses is an easy way for all sides to overreact, the Colts may just be hitting early bumps in the road. With an easy schedule over the next three weeks, an 0-2 start may look like history if the Colts improve to 3-2 going into Week 6 against the Patriots.
However, any more bad losses may heat up the situation even more, and the next few weeks may prove to be an important test for a team everyone thought would turn the corner this season.
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