"Blinders, Earmuffs" Off As Chuck Pagano Enters Sixth Season As Colts Head Coach

Intro: Thursday at the NFL Combine saw Chuck Pagano take his turn in meeting the media for the first time since the end of the 2016 season. What did Pagano have to say to the media on Thursday?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano looked and sounded like a guy more than grateful for a sixth season manning the Indianapolis Colts at his NFL Combine press conference on Thursday morning.

With his "blinders" and "earmuffs" off, Pagano is back at the Combine, but working with a new general manager for the first time in his tenure with Indy.

Here is a recap from Pagano meeting the media on Thursday, the first time the head coach has spoken this offseason:

Chuck Pagano on the defense over the last five years:

"Disappointed, not discouraged. Do I take it personal? I think we all do. Doesn't matter what title you hold. I came here having worked on the defensive side of the football. The things that we talk about, we have not done yet. And I emphasize 'yet.' And yet is a great word.

"We have another opportunity, another chance to improve and do better. Where we are at is certainly not good enough. Record wise and defensively is not where we want to be."


Bowen's Analysis:* *One of the more interesting insights coming from Chuck Pagano's 20 minutes with the media on Thursday was how exactly the Colts want to improve the defense. Pagano directly alluded to how Atlanta has built their roster and specifically the defensive side of the ball.

Pagano said in watching the Falcons make a run to the Super Bowl, he saw a young and fast defense that has been developed through guys getting reps and growing. The Falcons went through some early growing pains defensively, but the speed aspect was evident. Pagano said on Thursday "nothing like speed" when talking about the defense and knows that improvement there is "paramount" in the Colts climbing from the bottom of the NFL (the Colts ranked 30th in defense last year).Chuck Pagano on what he's learned over the past two years:

"Once you think you've got all the answers, I think that's when you're done. You can grow every single day and that's what I'm doing, that's what we are all doing. You learn a lot going through one season. Experiences, you have to learn from, and grow from.

"8-8 the past two years is not good enough. The standard is the standard. The expectations are what they are. We are never going to be satisfied until we get back to where we need to be.

"We've got a lot of work to do. I've got a lot to work on. I've got to be better. My blinders are off. My earmuffs are off. Eyes are wide open."


Bowen's Analysis:* *Pagano had a light moment with the media on Thursday. A smiling Pagano said that the "blinders" and "earmuffs" are now off, which is a stark contrast from one of his favorite sayings--often referring to his team ignoring all the noise on the outside. By this, Pagano means he's open to other things (perhaps coaching/philosophy?) as he tries to keep the Colts from their first three-year postseason drought since the early 1990s.

Jim Irsay said last month that he thinks Pagano will be the best coach he's ever been in 2017. For NFL standards, Pagano has had a significant stay in Indianapolis. Pagano, who is going into his sixth season with the Colts, is the ninth-longest turned coach in the NFL. We will find out this fall just how different of a Pagano we will see from a coaching/schematic standpoint.Chuck Pagano on working with new GM Chris Ballard:

"We are like minded. We have one vision. We have one goal. The entire organization is like minded.

"I think the communication is outstanding. I think that is obviously huge. We are off to a great start."


Bowen's Analysis: It's been an unusual offseason for the Indianapolis Colts. After a brief getaway for the coaching staff, they've been back to work, trying to assimilate themselves with new general manager Chris Ballard.

As Pagano said on Thursday, the Colts are at the Combine to get "younger and faster." Pagano has heard about the draft depth, but he admits that he's not too far along in his preparation, with the current roster/upcoming free agency higher up on the priority list this offseason. In trying to rebuild the defense, Pagano should like what pundits are saying about the rich defensive talent coming out in 2017.

The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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