There aren't many things that produce more discussion and more opinions than that of head coach Chuck Pagano. You'll find find those who think he's a great coach, those who think the team should fire him and that he's awful, and then plenty in-between.
It's interesting, therefore, to take a look at where others rank Pagano when it comes to other coaches. That's what Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty did this week, as he ranked the 32 NFL head coaches from best to worst. Number one, as you would expect, was Bill Belichick. Where did Chuck Pagano come in? Right in the middle, at number 16.
16. Chuck Pagano
Career Record: 33-15 (.688)
With The Colts Since: 2012
Last Year's Ranking: 21
Slowly but surely - emphasis on slowly - Chuck Pagano's team is taking on his identity. Andrew Luck continued to carry the Colts on his back in 2014, but for the second-straight season, an undermanned defense overachieved. GM Ryan Grigson has made a habit of giving Pagano shaky personnel, but Pagano has made a habit of coaching ‘em up. Some have been beyond save. 2013 first-rounder Bjoern Werner was a healthy scratch for the AFC Championship Game, for instance. But by and large, Pagano has held up his end of the bargain. He's been an inspiring leader, and solid defensive boss. He's even gotten a clue on offense. Of all the adjustments made league-wide in 2014, none was more important than Indy finally letting Luck cut loose. Luck's attempts skyrocketed to a career-high 616, but his efficiency only improved. Indy's reward was 458 points, its most since Peyton Manning was calling the shots in 2004. Pagano is still far from perfect. It would be nice if he stopped getting blown out of the building by Bill Belichick. The improvement has been undeniable, however, lessening the sting of losing secret weapon Bruce Arians. Pagano is never going to be a top-five coach, but paired with an elite quarterback like Luck, he's somebody you can win with.
I'm a bit surprised by the ranking, but that doesn't mean I disagree with it. Most people typically just look at Pagano's coaching record and how far the Colts have come in just three years and rank Pagano higher than this. In fact, his winning percentage of .688 is the highest career percentage of any current NFL coach. But while the Colts have won games and made the playoffs, a lot of the credit for that has to go to quarterback Andrew Luck, and there are still plenty of questions about Pagano.
I think this ranking is pretty accurate, as it depicts improvement from Pagano in 2014 (he jumped to number 16 up from 21 a year ago) but still shows that he's an average coach. I think the last sentence is pretty accurate: that Pagano won't be a top-five coach but you can win with him.
In case you were wondering, former Colts offensive coordinator and interim head coach Bruce Arians, currently with the Arizona Cardinals, checks in as number four on the list, while former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, currently with the Detroit Lions, was ranked 19th.
What are your thoughts about Chuck Pagano being ranked as the NFL's 16th best coach?