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What does Pagano's hire mean for the Colts?

The Colts filled their head-coaching vacancy on Wednesday, announcing the hiring of former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. Pagano will begin his tenure with an organization and roster very much in transition. How will his hire impact the team, both in the short-term and long-term?

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  • Jason La Canfora
  • It's another sign the Manning era is likely over

Its another striking change in culture there -- a tough, demanding, defensive-minded coach who players love playing for. Its another sign the Peyton Manning era is so very likely over.

Indianapolis can't win anymore with just a QB and a couple of pass rushers. The Colts are hoping to find their version of John Harbaugh or Mike Tomlin. Who knows? It just may work. But after the failure of a 2-14 season, with all the transition going on and a long rebuild ahead, I applaud them moving in a different direction entirely.

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  • Jason Smith
  • Is Pagano really the best man to develop a rookie QB?

Pagano is qualified, no doubt. But here's the thing: You're taking Andrew Luck with the first pick. Don't you want an offensive mind in charge of his development? I don't get what's wrong with Rob Chudzinski or Mike McCoy, who have both showcased the ability to develop a QB. What got Steve Spagnuolo fired in St. Louis? It wasn't simply wins and losses -- the failure to develop franchise quarterback Sam Bradford played a big part in his ouster. Look at the Jets. Rex Ryan has had that defense play lights out the last three seasons, but offensively they're a mess and curently have no playmakers.

No matter what, offensive coaches who get head-coaching jobs are better on that side of the ball with their new team, and the same holds true for defensive coaches. The Colts need someone who's going to make Luck a star -- an offensive someone.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Putting together a good staff will be key

This is a really brazen move for Pagano, but there are only 32 of these. I have a feeling that he was given no assurances either way on Peyton Manning, but he did have to have some indication. He has to put a staff together, and everyone will want to know what they are getting into. I don't think his being a defensive coach matters -- Tony Dungy was a defensive guy.

By all appearances, Indianapolis is going to overhaul and rebuild, so this will be a process. But the tree of Ravens defensive coaches who've gotten head jobs -- Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Mike Smith, Mike Nolan, Jack Del Rio -- have done pretty well overall as head coaches. We'll see if Pagano can put together a good enough staff, and with first-time GM Ryan Grigson, a good enough roster to deal with the Texans and Titans, who look like long-term threats in the AFC South.

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  • Albert Breer
  • Pagano hired with the future in mind

My feeling is the Pagano hire is another sign of the direction that the Colts are going in. Ryan Grigson is a first-time GM and Pagano a first-time head coach for an owner who last overhauled his organization with experienced veterans in both spots (Bill Polian, Jim Mora). And with a rookie quarterback coming (most likely Andrew Luck), these moves are made with 2014, '15 and beyond in mind.

Ultimately, Jim Irsay recognized that the time is now to revamp the club -- with the roster having decayed and 30-something free agents like Jeff Saturday, Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis -- and he's clearly willing to take his lumps as the rebuilding effort begins. So he's projecting what Grigson and Pagano will be in their new positions, and bracing for a period of new growth.

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  • Elliot Harrison
  • Pagano should help in time of transition

It's tough to say how much Pagano will affect the organization in the short-term. But in the long-term, expect to see a team with his defensive imprint. Pagano did an outstanding job with a Ravens defense aging in areas, transitioning in others. He proved that he was able to deal with both veteran players (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed) and young players (Terrence Cody, Jimmy Smith) and get them to do their jobs. He'll have to do the same in Indy, although the number of veterans remains to be seen. With Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday, Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and others potentially on their way out, Pagano will have an opportunity to help mold the roster in his image.

One change you can anticipate in the short-term is the style of the defense the Colts play. For years, Indy has played a "small-ball 4-3" with lighter players in the front seven. Although Pagano is limited somewhat by the Colts' personnel (at least prior the draft), keep in mind that he coached a 3-4 team this past season with bigger bodies up front. He will likely go with the schemes and the types of players he's comfortable with.

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