INDIANAPOLIS – The last time Chuck Pagano entered the pavilion area inside of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center to a standing ovation was December 24.
Nearly seven months later, Pagano walked into another standing ovation as the Colts head coach was the guest speaker at the Corporate Luncheon Series earlier this week.
Pagano initially thanked the crowd before providing a little humor to start off his 30-minute talk.
“I hope you’re doing that after the (season) opener.”
Pagano covered a variety of topics saying that he’s “charged up and energized” for the 2013 season to get under way.
The head coach wanted to thank those in attendance, and all Colts fans, for what they did for him and his family last season.
“The way this city, everybody in the audience, the way they embraced myself and my family throughout our circumstances…you hear about Hoosier hospitality all the time but until you live it like me, and my family lived it, you can’t really appreciate it the way I appreciate it now,” Pagano said.
“From the bottom of my heart and my family’s heart, we can’t thank you enough.”
This offseason Pagano spent some time in Boise, Idaho visiting his daughters and grandchildren.
Also on the coach’s agenda was a trip to Los Angeles for the ESPYS last week, where he was nominated for the “Best Moment.”
“It was obviously a great honor and very humbling to be nominated number one, and to be in a room filled with such great athletes in every sport was unbelievable,” Pagano said.
“The award went to the right person. I got a chance to spend some time with little Jack Hoffman, the seven-year old that won it. That’s the real hero. That’s the brave guy. Listening to Robin Roberts, her story, how she came up, what she went through, what she’s enduring, it was incredible. It was a great experience for not only myself but better for my wife and two daughters. I was very fortunate that we all got to experience that together.”
Colts Director of Broadcast Services Jeffery Gorman fielded the questions to Pagano at the luncheon. He asked the head coach if the importance of establishing the run on offense and stopping the ground attack on defense still remained high atop the priority list.
“It will never change. We are bound and determined,” Pagano said of the rushing game. “Obviously we went out in free agency and added pieces to both lines of scrimmage and that’s where it all starts, in the trenches.”
Below are some of the players that Gorman asked Pagano about during the half-hour talk:
On first-round draft pick
“He exceeded all our expectations since he’s been here. He’s a really, really good football player. He hasn’t played that much football but he came in here, picked up the scheme really fast. He understands football. He’s a gym rat. He loves being around the facility, being around the guys.”
“We put a lot on his plate. We threw a lot at him and put him in a lot of different positions through the offseason program. For him to come in here, stand up, watching him drop, watching his ball skills in pass coverage, rush the passer, all those things, he’s everything and more than we thought he would be.”
“Andrew is like Bjoern. He’s the kind of guy you want in your building. He’s a gym rat. He did a great job this offseason, looking at every pass that he threw, looking at the protections, things that he could do better."
"The sky’s the limit for Andrew. He’s a brilliant, brilliant football player but he’s a better person, he’s a better teammate, one sharp cookie. We are all very lucky, no pun intended, to have him as our quarterback.”
On the arrival of
“He's what we call a game wrecker. If you are a receiver going across the middle, you don’t want him anywhere in the same area code. This guy is a monster. We talk about building the monster. We just added a monster to our roster."
“I think with him and (Antoine) Bethea back there teamed up, we are probably going to have the very best safety tandem in the league this year.”