In Chuck Pagano’s strange press conference earlier this afternoon, there wasn’t much that we could glean from what he said. For the most part, it was a filibuster as Pagano rambled on about a variety of things, and even the big question of his job security wasn’t really even answered since he hadn’t yet met with Jim Irsay.
But there was a question that was posed to Pagano that was a very good question, and his answer - or lack thereof - was telling. Pagano was asked whether he thinks this team has the talent to be better than 8-8 (which is what they’ve finished the last two years), and he really didn’t answer it.
“Umm, great question,” he said. “Interesting question. We played a bunch of guys and we played without some of our guys in some of the games, and so look at the guys that came in and played for those guys and the development of some of the young guys. Who’d have thought that Jack Doyle would be Jack Doyle today, who’d have thought Erik Swoope, never playing football, would come in and be who Erik Swoope is and the plays that he’s made, those young offensive linemen and things like that, so as you know the roster’s always going to change, and for whatever reason that’s the league. So again, we’ll sit back, and we really haven’t had a chance to evaluate everything at this point.”
It’s important to contrast that with what Pagano had said earlier in his press conference. He went on for ten-plus minutes with his opening statement, and he spent plenty of time praising a number of players, like Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Ryan Kelly, among others. And Pagano said that yesterday’s win showed that the Colts have a good culture and environment, that their players have character and leadership in the locker room, that there’s a good foundation for this team, and that the Colts have the right players and coaches. Now I’m not sure a comeback win against the 3-12 Jaguars should be the standard, but nonetheless, Pagano had just been praising his team and pointed out a number of positives, and he also mentioned how he views things with glass half full and he’s optimistic.
And then, when asked about the talent of this roster and whether it’s good enough to go 8-8, Pagano seemed to stumble for an answer and kind of dodged the question. It was an odd look, to be sure. It’s hard to know exactly how much to read into it, but I think it was a striking departure from the optimism and praise he had for players and I think his non-answer spoke volumes. Is this roster talented enough? I think most people who actually watch the team would agree it’s not, but is Pagano one of them? His answer today might indicate he is. And that means we’re looking at you, Ryan Grigson.