The status of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano remains up in the air, as the Colts are 3-4 in a season in which they were supposed to be one of the best teams in the NFL and contend for a Super Bowl. It's looking likely that multiple changes could be coming for the organization at the end of the year, with Pagano, his coaching staff, and general manager Ryan Grigson all possibly gone. At this point, the bigger question is whether owner Jim Irsay would wait until the end of the season to make a move.
Pro Football Talk pointed out an ESPN report that the Colts are having "organizational discussions" about Pagano's future, and WTHR's Bob Kravitz reported that, while Pagano isn't safe, a change is unlikely to come this week. It seems very likely (and has all along) that if an in-season change is going to be made, it'll happen during the Colts' bye week. That's the time that is most common for a coaching change to happen mid-season, and for Pagano, it could come at the worst time - after a stretch of games against the Patriots, Saints, Panthers, and Broncos (with two of those games being primetime games). If the Colts finish that stretch 0-4 with a couple of bad losses, that would drop them to 3-7 on the year and would likely make Jim Irsay really consider firing making a change.
Bleacher Report's Jason Cole noted that Irsay is "seriously discussing" whether to fire Pagano during the season and that, if it were to happen, it would come during the bye week. Here's what Cole said:
According to an ESPN report, the Indianapolis Colts had internal discussions about replacing Chuck Pagano. A source I talked to said that owner Jim Irsay is seriously discussing whether he's going to let Pagano go during the season. If that happens, expect that the most logical time for the Colts to make a change would be during the week ten bye. That is after they play their next two games against Carolina and at home against Denver. The hope is that the Colts are able to turn things around and prevent having to fire Pagano, but if the team continues to list the way it has so far, expect that a change will be made as they try and save the season.
If they make that change, there are four candidates in house that the Colts would consider. The first one would be defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, then offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. Another one is assistant head coach Rob Chudzinski and finally, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, who is a long-time assistant with the team. Among those four, expect one of them to be elevated to this position to take over for the rest of the season before the Colts ultimately decide what they want to do in the future. If things continue to go badly for the Colts and Pagano, expect a change to be made in the next couple of weeks at the latest.
The last part of that is pretty obvious, and Cole didn't narrow it down much at all. Hey, at least he's almost sure to be right about who the Colts promote if they fire Pagano, since he listed pretty much the only four candidates who make any sense. It would be a total shock to see anyone other than one of those four take over for Pagano if he's fired. Rob Chudzinski would make sense, as he's the assistant to the head coach, but at the same time, he's Pagano's guy. He's Pagano's assistant and friend, so would that be as likely? Greg Manusky has done a solid job with the defensive talent that he's been given in Indy, but I'm not sure the Colts would want to fire their defensive head coach to simply replace him with the defensive coordinator. I don't know how much good that would do. Clyde Christensen is a likable guy and would be able to help handle the transition, but with Hamilton as offensive coordinator, that might not work as well. Finally, Hamilton would seem to be the easy choice, but he has been bad this year and his offense is struggling. Perhaps the main reason to give him the shot would be as an audition for the head coach job long-term, but if he continues to struggle that won't even be a question.
Anyway, that's getting ahead of ourselves, as Chuck Pagano hasn't been fired yet. But without a doubt, these next two weeks will be very, very big for Pagano entering the bye week. I doubt how much good firing Pagano in-season would do, particularly since the Colts are in first place in their division and are likely to make the playoffs, but if Jim Irsay wants to make a change, it could happen at the bye week.