INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano has a 28-year history in coaching football.
Eighteen of those seasons came on the collegiate level, while 10 of the past 11 have been spent in the NFL with Cleveland, Oakland and Baltimore.
One of those closest to Pagano used to serve with the Colts, his brother, John, who was a defensive assistant with the club under Head Coach Jim Mora from 1998-2001.
John Pagano has been with San Diego since departing Indianapolis, and he was just moved there into the defensive coordinator role his older brother graduated from when moving from the Ravens to the Colts.
John Pagano believes Colts fans in Indianapolis and beyond will be pleased with what they see in Chuck Pagano.
"He's going to bring some unbelievable energy," said Pagano. "Just seeing him grow into the position he's at. The bigger thing is seeing how the players will respond to him and what he brings. What he brought to the Ravens defense this year and what he's going to bring to Indianapolis is going to be really exciting. I think (fans) are going to respond really well."
Indianapolis struggled to a 2-14 season in 2011, prompting Owner and CEO Jim Irsay to hire Pagano, along with new General Manager Ryan Grigson. The change in direction of the club came in a 24-day period after the Colts' final game.
John Pagano joined the Colts in the same manner in 1998 as his older did on Wednesday, after a difficult season that saw a new general manager and head coach hired and while the club held the top pick in the upcoming draft. Along with describing his brother, Pagano remembered the circumstances of his own arrival.
"I think he's a defensive-minded coach with fire and passion. He's going to bring a different energy to the city of Indianapolis," said Pagano. "Me being there before, it was kind of the same situation when Coach (Jim) Mora came in there (in 1998). It's almost the same situation flipped (14) years ago where we had the opportunity to draft number one and draft Peyton Manning. It's very similar. It's not weird, but it's surreal."
Ravens safety Ed Reed is an eight-time Pro Bowler who thrived under the tutelage of Pagano. Reed is fond of his recently-relocated position coach and coordinator.
"He will be missed here, there is no question about that," said Reed. "He is a tremendous coach and motivator and gets the most out of his players. I hate to see him go, but I am really happy for him and his family and this opportunity. We have known each other for a long time and I will truly miss him. When we were together, it was like playing for my dad.
"He helped me with my mental preparation so much. He always got me thinking what could be the next play or what could be the next thing that the offense does. He always kept me thinking ahead and what could possibly come next of the football field."
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha played under Pagano with Oakland, where he grew fond of Pagano. Now with Philadelphia, Asomugha complimented his former coach who is in Indianapolis.
"Chuck is one of my all time favorites," said Asomugha. "(He's) a tireless worker who knows how to bring the best out of his players and still keep the environment fun. (He's) an amazing coach, but an even more amazing man. I'm happy for him."
Pagano had exposure to the styles of defensive strategists Rob Ryan (2005-06 at Oakland) and Rex Ryan (2008 with Baltimore). Thirteen-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis recently compared the styles of Pagano and Rex Ryan.
"Both of them are very fiery, and I think (there are) a lot of similarities because both are 'player' coaches," said Lewis. "They really relate to their players and things like that. Both are very out-going. I think Chuck is more settled when it comes to the outside world but to us, Chuck is Chuck. That's what we appreciate, and that's why we're doing the things we are doing, because of the flexibility he gives us."
Former Baltimore cornerback Samari Rolle recently said in a print interview, "He's detail-oriented, but at the same time he's not always talking to you like a coach, he's talking to you like a man, like you two are on the same level. He trusts you. He trusts what you think about the defensive call, about your technique. He lets you be who you are. … I think he'll do a great job. I'm happy for him."
Pagano spent four years under Head Coach John Harbaugh with the Ravens. Harbaugh lauded Pagano in a recent interview.
"He's got the rare ability to be loved and respected by player at the same time, which is a unique and difficult thing," said Harbaugh. "He has the ability to push then while still having fun in practice and playing. He's a heck of a leader. He was terrific with his group as a secondary coach, but when he took over as defensive coordinator, he really blossomed in that way. … He's a coach's kid, like me. We have similar backgrounds. Both (of us) came up through the ranks the same way, college and the NFL, both emotional guys. But he's got his own unique style and personality. He's a very creative coach on the defensive side of the ball."
Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs is the Ravens' career sacks leader with 82.5, including a league-high 14 in 2011. Suggs appreciates Pagano's aggressive nature.
"Chuck's unorthodox," said Suggs. "In terms of this coaching personality, I'd describe it like this: He's like The Joker. You never really expect what he's going to do, and everything has a motive. He's like, 'I'm just gonna set you up on this call so I can get you later.' "