Around the NFL  

 

Pagano weighs in on Hamilton firing, lauds Chudzinski

Print

Can new Colts play-caller Rob Chudzinski revive Indy's underwhelming offense?

One day after the firing of offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, coach Chuck Pagano acknowledged Wednesday that parting ways "was not a knee-jerk reaction," but a response to feeling that the team "needed a change," per Zak Keefer of The Indianapolis Star.

Pagano went out of his way to call Hamilton a "good football coach and a great man," but told reporters that he, Colts owner Jim Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson were "all on the same page" regarding the dismissal. Seeing "the same thing over and over and over" from Indy's up-and-down attack helped reinforce that decision, said Pagano.

Every game, all season

Quarterback Andrew Luck on Wednesday called Hamilton's canning "jarring, tough, and not fun," per USA Today's Lindsay Jones.

The Colts, though, are encouraged to have Chudzinski, a former Browns coach, at the controls. Pagano called his new coordinator and longtime friend a "bright guy" who "plays to strengths, minimizes weaknesses" and "believes in running the football," per Mike Chappell of Fox 59.

A former tight end, Chudzinski also loves to throw the ball after working alongside Norv Turner in San Diego and Cleveland. Their attack with the Browns in 2013 helped wideout Josh Gordon lead the league in receiving yards while also sending tight end Jordan Cameron to the Pro Bowl. Chudzinski also deserves credit for bringing current star Gary Barnidge to the Browns from Carolina, where the coach ran Cam Newton's Panthers offense for two seasons before taking the Cleveland gig.

Look for Chudzinski to rework Hamilton's attack, but Pagano emphasized that won't happen just days before facing a Broncos defense he called just as suffocating as the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens.

Not an easy first test, but Chudzinski has a chance to play hero if he can get Luck and this Colts offense back on track. Luck currently leads the NFL in interceptions while sitting last in passer rating -- something nobody saw coming before the season.

"The timing is very, very difficult," Pagano said, per The Star's Stephen Holder. "I'm very grateful that Chud would take over and do this. I don't think everybody would."

Print

Fan Discussion