Though we're only in week two of the NFL season, the talk about the future of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has dominated some of the headlines surrounding the team. Recent reports have suggested a "growing disconnect" between Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson, while another report suggested that people close to Pagano think it is "inevitable" that he will be coaching elsewhere next year.
In short, there is a growing belief that a change could be coming for the Colts after this season. And while of course there's still a number of games left to change things, it sounds like owner Jim Irsay might be ready to make some big moves following the year.
This is according to NFL Media's Albert Breer, who reported this morning that Irsay is wary of repeating the failures of the Peyton Manning era - only getting one Super Bowl with an elite quarterback - and doesn't want to repeat that, which could lead to big moves. Wrote Breer:
"But what seems increasingly undeniable is that Irsay -- scarred by past experiences -- will go looking to make changes if this season ends in the same way the last three did, with his team struggling to stand up physically to an elite opponent. (He'd point out the team is 16-2 within the division and 17-13 out of the division over the past three seasons.) And word around the campfire is that if Irsay does make a coaching change, he might be ready to go big-game hunting, which could change the structure of the organization."
That suggests to me that Irsay will likely be looking to some big-name coaching prospects if he does decide to make a change. And that last part of the report? The one that said the move "could change the structure of the organization" - that suggests to me that Irsay might look to a coach with more control, perhaps over personnel (which would, of course, not speak well to Grigson's future either). It's all speculation, but if Irsay really is looking to "go big-game hunting," that could mean even bigger changes than simply moving on from Pagano.
I think the most prominent name that instantly comes to mind is Nick Saban, who has been rumored to possibly be looking to leave Alabama after the season, while recent comments about his previous situation in Miami suggest that he thinks the reason he didn't stick with the Dolphins was because he didn't have a franchise quarterback. And then there was the recent story about Bill Polian wanting to hire Saban back in 1998 but didn't want to give up personnel control, which is ultimately what prevented the deal from happening. Considering that he has become a household name at Alabama, where he has won three national championships (he won another title at LSU previously), he would certainly fit the bill of a "big-game" hire.
There are other possible names too, of course, and I'm not advocating for Saban as the right choice (nor saying that he'd even be a candidate at all) - but today's report from Breer does suggest that Jim Irsay might be ready to make some big changes after the season. What could those changes look like? That's not entirely clear right now, but what is clear is that Jim Irsay wants to win multiple Super Bowls with Andrew Luck at quarterback, and he'll be prepared to make the changes quicker than he might have previously in the Peyton Manning era.