There has already been a lot of change surrounding Andrew Luck over the past year. His offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, who he was with at Stanford too, was fired mid-season in 2015. The only quarterback coach he had known since entering the league, Clyde Christensen, left for Miami this offseason. His close friend Matt Hasselbeck retired, and fellow Stanford alums Coby Fleener and Griff Whalen both left in free agency.
With all of the change surrounding Luck, however, one thing stunningly remained the same: Chuck Pagano is still the Colts’ head coach.
“It was a new position to be in for a lot of us on the Colts, guys who were drafted like T.Y. Hilton and I and Dwayne [Allen] and Coby Fleener, who was still here,” Luck told SiriusXM NFL Radio today about the 2015 season. “Hey, we really don’t know what’s going to happen. All we know is making the playoffs and going. But stoked, so happy that Coach Pagano and Ryan [Grigson] were entrusted to lead the Colts because I don’t want to play for anybody else.
“And I think it was a gutsy call by Mr. Irsay,” Luck continued. “It’s easy, I think, just to wipe the slate clean and hire a new coach. It seems to be sort of the in vogue thing. I think Mr. Irsay has an incredible vision, a football vision, as one of the great stewards of football in the NFL.”
All in one conversation Luck praised the Colts’ brass, as he said he doesn’t want to play for anyone but Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson and added that he thinks Jim Irsay does a great job and made a great decision. Here’s the thing about Luck: he might not be the guy to publicly make a strong push for keeping Pagano or knock down Irsay’s door to demand it, but Luck wanted Pagano back and is happy to see his coach return. Luck also admitted that last season was frustrating for him but that he didn’t want to let it show outwardly with the Colts still in the playoff hunt late in the year.
There has been a lot of talk about Jim Irsay’s decision to keep Grigson and Pagano around, and there are people on both sides of the argument. We’ve seen very clearly where the players are at, however, as they were thrilled to see Pagano return. Andrew Luck is in the position to ensure that Pagano sticks around, too, as if Luck plays well and helps the Colts win a lot of games, Pagano will be around for a while. If not, we might eventually see Jim Irsay make the move everyone thought he would make this year.