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Takeaways from Chuck Pagano at League Meetings

Posted Mar 26, 2014

Intro: The Annual League Meetings will conclude today in Orlando. Yesterday, Chuck Pagano spoke with the media down there and here are a few takeaways from the head coach’s media session.



INDIANAPOLIS— In February, the NFL headquarters shifted to Indianapolis for a week during the Combine.

In March, the focus has shifted to Orlando, where NFL brass has gathered for the Annual League Meetings.

The Colts are represented down there and on Tuesday, it was time for Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson to speak with the media.

Below are four takeaways from Pagano’s media session:

Hakeem Nicks Adds To Weaponry On Offense

Dave Richard, CBS Sports

"Everybody's going to get up in your face now and play bump and run and make it really hard for you to get off the line of scrimmage," Pagano told CBSSports.com. "(Nicks) gives you a big, physical presence. When Reggie went down, Da'Rick Rogers was a big guy but he hadn't played and was thrust to the forefront. With Hakeem, you get another big, physical receiver that will do a great job versus press coverage. And the teams that we're going to have to face, all of them are built to stop the big wideouts. We're going to face big corners, if you will. He brings a lot to the table in that respect."



Bowen’s Analysis: The craze around the NFL lately has been how the Seahawks used some of the game’s most physical cornerbacks to assemble the league’s No. 1 defense. As a former defensive backs coach, Pagano has certainly taken notice and Nicks is a guy that can combat this style. At 6-1 and 208 pounds, Nicks doesn’t have abnormal size at the receiver position but he is known as a physical outside threat that plays bigger then he’s listed.

Continuing To Find T.Y. Hilton Touches

Dave Richard, CBS Sports

"Did he have to do some of the other stuff because of the absence of Reggie? We had to be creative, we had to move him around," Pagano said of Hilton. "We couldn't sit him in one spot or play him in one spot. We had to do some things because we knew that they were going to roll the coverage to him, they were going to double him, put a guy up on his nose, disrupt him at the line of scrimmage and have a guy over the top, all those things. We had to do a bunch of different things just to try and get him loose, get him free."



Bowen’s Analysis: How to ramp up Hilton’s production once Wayne went down was the central theme around the Colts during the month of November last season. Pep Hamilton did just that and Hilton flourished with career outings over the final three weeks. With Nicks in the fold, a healthy Wayne, and a more than capable tight end duo, Hilton will undoubtedly see less attention than he saw down the stretch in 2013. His numbers might dwindle a little, but his effectiveness when the ball touches his hands shouldn’t decrease.


The Future For Khaled Holmes

Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star


"I think when you look at (Jeff) Saturday being with Peyton (Manning) all those years, you talk about continuity of the offensive line. Sure you'd like to have a guy who has been there for the long haul. That's why we've evaluated and took (Khaled) Holmes a year ago. ... He's a talented guy and the expectations are high for him. Then to bring in a guy like (Phil) Costa in the mix, who's to say there's not a guy? Time is going to tell. We feel like he might be sitting right there."



Bowen’s Analysis: A bevy of offseason attention will be spent on Holmes, a guy that played just 12 offensive snaps in 2013. When Holmes was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Ryan Grigson labeled him as the “center of the future”. Is the future now? It seems like Holmes will certainly have a chance to prove that after battling injuries coming out of USC and in training camp last year.

Pat McAfee’s Desire To Kick Field Goals

Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star

"Having one guy do it?" Pagano said. "I think it'd be hard."

"He's a talented guy and a versatile guy," Pagano said. "He does a great job with kickoffs and punting the football for us. He's got, I guess he calls it his boomstick. He's got a big leg. ... If needed, we have a guy there we feel comfortable throwing out there."



Bowen’s Analysis: For the next two years this isn’t an issue. Adam Vinatieri is back so McAfee can turn his full attention to continuing to excel as a punter and on kickoffs. The difficultly of one guy doing all three tasks worries Pagano, but what about an injury? In the Colts loss to the Patriots last January, New England punter Ryan Allen left the game due to injury in the second quarter. That forced kicker Stephen Gostkowkski into all three roles. Not an ideal situation in such an important game.

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