Chuck Pagano's decisions on assistant coaches haven't necessarily been stellar for the Colts franchise.
It's amazing when you consider that, after a magical 2012 run to the playoffs, the 2013 Indianapolis Colts have a lot of questions to answer, most importantly within their coaching staff.
Chuck Pagano was hired last year because of his defensive background. The 2012 Colts defense finished as bad as the 2011 one did in terms of points allowed, rushing yards allowed, and passing yards allowed. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis looked uncomfortable in Pagano's hybrid 3-4 system, and their production suffered. To his credit, Pagano admitted that the defense wasn't practically great in 2012, but there were factors. Pagano's illness, and subsequent leave of absence as a result, being one of them.
The other perk of the Pagano hire last year was that he brought over Bruce Arians to tutor Andrew Luck. Now, Arians is gone, and left with the bag is Pagano, a man with zero experience coaching young quarterbacks.
The Colts also mutually parted ways with special teams coach Marwan Maalouf, which, for me, is a polite way of saying they fired the dude. Maalouf was replaced by Tom McMahon, who was recently dumped by the 2-14 Kansas City Chiefs.
So, in the span of one year, the Colts have had their head coach get diagnosed with cancer, lost their offensive coordinator to the Cardinals, and fired their special teams coach. The only top coaching job in Indianapolis that hasn't been turned over recently is defensive coordinator, and the guy who currently holds that job, Greg Manusky, wasn't Pagano's first choice.
This will be a critical offseason for Pagano. Yes, his cancer survival story continues to inspire, but this is the NFL. You're here to win, and so far his decisions regarding key assistant coaches have left a lot to be desired when it comes to the future growth of the franchise and its players. It's obviously not Pagano's fault that Arians left for Arizona - and I'm willing to bet he's as stunned about the news as we are - but the Maalouf hiring and the coaching on defense haven't been anything to write home about. So far, replacements like McMahon do not evoke "HELL YEAH!" responses from the peanut gallery.
We will be watching how Pagano handles this shake-up very closely.