Taking a look at what Chuck Pagano said in his press conference today...
- FB Stanley Havili, CB Josh Gordy, OG Hugh Thornton, and CB Darius Butler all left Saturday's game with an injury. Pagano said that he is unsure at this point whether they will require surgery or not.
- Pagano said that as far as he knows the 17 players on injured reserve are all doing well and are all working hard to get to 100 percent.
- Asked specifically about Reggie Wayne, Pagano said that he is "way ahead of schedule" and that he is rehabbing all the time. He said that Reggie consistently beat the trainers to the building each morning and that his effect on the team despite the injury is such that "you can't put a price tag on what he's done for this organization."
- Pagano called this day "one of the tougher days in football" and that it's hard to prepare for the finality of this day.
- Pagano on the 2013 season: "We've got a great, great group of coaches and players here. I want to thank them. Just talking to the players this morning, I felt like we had a great season. Our ultimate goal, we fell short of. But we will never stop chasing that as long as we're living and breathing and upright. We had a great season and we accomplished a lot. I think to follow up an 11-5 first year with another 11-win season, a division championship, sweep the division, win a home playoff game. I think we took the next step in building this program. We talked about building a program for sustained success. I think we definitely took a step forward. Again, didn't finish the way we wanted it to finish, but we got a lot to be proud of. Like I told those guys in the locker room after the game, I said hold your head high, I'm very, very proud of the players and the coaches for what they accomplished this season."
- Pagano said that the future looks very bright heading into year three and that they will continue to get better. He said that the evaluation process begins with himself and that they will turn over every stone.
- Pagano also announced that the Colts coaching staff will be coaching one of the Pro Bowl teams in Hawaii. "It'll be a well-deserved break for those guys," Pagano said of his staff and he added that they will be leaving early next week for that. Asked later if Reggie Wayne is technically an assistant coach and if they'll take him as part of the staff, Pagano joked that if Reggie really wanted to go, "he can get himself over there." MY TAKE: Dear SB Nation, I'll make the sacrifice and go cover the Pro Bowl for you if you'd like. (Although I'll probably instead just have to go with Reggie. Maybe I'll give him a call when I'm done writing...).
- Pagano's message to his team was to take a break. He said they need to get away for a bit and spend time with their families, if they have them, and to just get a break from football. He added that they can't be away too long, however, as their offseason program begins on April 21 - 14 weeks from now - and that training camp is just 29 weeks away. Pagano said that with the way the CBA is set up now, they won't get a ton of time with the players during the offseason but that the coaches will give each player a "prescription" of what to work on in the offseason, specific to position.
- Pagano's biggest takeaway from this season? "The sky is the limit for this group. I really believe we came very close," Pagano said. "We were one of eight. Again, we took the next step, but three teams that are playing championship Sunday, if you will, we beat, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle if I remember correctly. We beat all three of those teams. If we go back to work and everybody gets one to two percent better at their craft and what they do, and you combine all that, again, we didn't reach our ultimate goal. We're going to keep chasing it. We always will. That will never change. But the sky is the limit. We've got a great group here. We've got the foundation that we laid."
- Pagano said that the evaluation of himself began just about five minutes after his post-game press conference after the Patriots game and that he will keep evaluating himself. He said that he doesn't have any regrets but that there are certainly things he can do better. MY TAKE: Good for him. He needs to improve, and I'm glad that he says the evaluation starts with him. Hopefully he's really serious about looking at himself and improving as a coach, too.
- On Andrew Luck, Pagano said that, "he is his own worst critic. He's very hard on himself. But at the same time, he can move on. He can put things behind him. He's not one to beat himself up. He does a great job of that. He's one of the best I've ever seen as far as having amnesia and putting things behind him." MY TAKE: I completely agree. 100%.
- Pagano again confirmed that their mantra will always be to run the football and stop the run. However, he said that there are certain circumstances (injuries, etc.) where they will need to adjust. He said that he still believes, though, that running the football is key to winning and that last weekend was a key example of that. He does understand, however, that you need to throw to win and that he's got one of the "best in the business" to do so. MY TAKE: As I've said before, this kind of comment really doesn't bother me at all. It's much more important what the Colts actually do versus what Pagano says, and he acknowledges that they need to throw and adjust, and they did just that towards the end of the season this year.
- Pagano said the biggest thing the defense (and offense and special teams, too) needs to improve on is their consistency. He said that all it takes is one play, as the game Saturday night was 29-22 in the fourth quarter before one play broke the game open. He said that it comes down to 11 guys doing your job and that is much easier said than done.
- Asked about why he truly believes this team is close to winning a Super Bowl, Pagano said: "Because they believe. When you stop believing, it's over. And they believe. And they saw where we got in a short period of time and they all believe. We got great veteran leadership. We got great veteran leadership coming back. And so as long as they have a faith and belief in what we're doing and strong conviction about that, you've got a chance." He said that the only reason they got up and came into work today was to get better to hoist that Lombardi trophy.
- On Anthony Castonzo, Pagano said that he took the next step towards becoming an "elite" left tackle in the NFL. He said the "sky is the limit" for him and that he sees him in that spot for a long time. MY TAKE: Castonzo did have a very good year, I agree. The best thing about him was that he was consistent, in my opinion. Week in and week out he always started and always played well for the most part.
- Pagano talked about how Trent Richardson will now get to go through an offseason with the Colts and that will be very important for him. Pagano said that, "[Richardson] wants to be great. He's got all the talent, he's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign." MY TAKE: This is the hope for Richardson. I think he'll improve - the question is how much. This offseason, as Pagano noted, will be very, very important for Richardson.
- Last season, the Colts underwent quite a bit of change on the coaching staff. Asked if the staff will be more stable this offseason, Pagano said "absolutely." MY TAKE: In other words, folks, don't expect Greg Manusky to be fired. Which is perfectly fine with me.
This is the final regular "Colts Notes" of the season. There might be a few here and there throughout the offseason when Pagano talks, but the regular Colts Notes will be taking a break until next season. Keep it here on the site and follow us on twitter for more analysis of all things Colts.