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Report: Chuck Pagano forced into lineup decisions

The firing of offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was the latest development in a tumultuous season for the Indianapolis Colts. Even before Hamilton was let go, players were getting worried that all the negativity was creating a distraction.

The Indianapolis Star reported Friday morning that the team held a players-only meeting last week with the purpose of blocking out all the distractions, and trying to focus on football. The concerns outlined in the meeting, according to Stephen Holder, were telling.

The report says that players are concerned coach Chuck Pagano is being forced to make lineup decisions by the front office.

"This has been a recurring source of irritation for Pagano and his coaches," Holder writes. "During the past several weeks, and even dating to last season, there have been instances in which, sources said, players approached Pagano or his assistants with suggestions or requests, only to be told they could not act on the ideas because of forces beyond their control."

The players are also reportedly concerned about the future of Pagano and all the reports about internal strife between the front office and the coaching staff. This is similar to the stories that helped bring down the end of the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco.

It's not like the players-only meeting helped the Colts come out any stronger against Carolina last week. They trailed by 17 points in the fourth quarter before rallying to lose in overtime. That's the tricky part of players-only meetings. What do you do when they don't work? Hold another meeting?

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