The Indianapolis Colts came up with their first win of the season in a tighter-than-it-should-have-been 35-33 win over the Tennessee Titans.
The Colts are one of the biggest early-season disappointments in the NFL, and despite their first win. talk of the rocky relationship between Colts coach Chuck Pagano and the front office hasn’t stopped.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR Sports reported in Week 1 that Colts own Jim Irsay and GM Ryan Grigson were losing trust that Pagano could bring the team to the next level.
After a Week 2 loss, Pagano seemed to take a veiled shot at Grigson, suggesting the Colts’ offensive line isn’t good enough each year and that Andrew Luck should be used to it by now.
On Sunday, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported that people close to Pagano say he has “doubts” he’ll be back with the Colts in 2016.
Rapoport notes that Pagano somewhat did this to himself: “So often we talk about coaches on the hot seat. The reality is, Pagano put himself on the hot seat. He declined a one-year contract extension from the Colts, choosing to bet on himself and hopefully cash in at the end of the year.”
Rapoport does touch on the early reports that Pagano and Grigson fight over personnel control. While that does exist, Rapoport says it’s typical business in a coach-GM relationship, and it isn’t the biggest problem with the Colts or Pagano.
As Kravitz initially reported, it seems the biggest issue is Pagano’s ability to turn the Colts into Super Bowl contenders. Despite three improved seasons with Pagano and Luck, the Colts have gotten crushed in the playoffs each year. This year, the Colts front office wants to see them contend for a championship or at least have a better showing in the playoffs.
The Colts’ early season struggles haven’t helped that issue, although a team with as many new pieces as the Colts could simply be taking a little while to take shape. Despite a weak division and a likely easy road to the playoffs, any path the Colts take will have to go through Tom Brady and the Patriots, who crushed the Colts in the AFC Championship game in 2015. The two teams meet in Week 6, in what is shaping up to be the biggest game of the season for Pagano and the Colts.
Improving upon last season could be what it takes for Pagano to stay in town, but Rapoport warns, “The reality in Indianapolis is every word is being measured and examined. They may be too far gone in Indianapolis now.”
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