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Jabaal Sheard’s potential lauded by Pagano

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Chuck Pagano put his metaphors down when describing the Colts newest rush linebacker

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

We’ve heard multiple praises from Chuck Pagano about players new to the organization in the past. Typically of the metaphorical type, and just as often they don’t pan out. Trent Richardson was a ‘rolling ball of butcher knives’ when he was acquired from the Cleveland Browns in 2013 and LaRon Landry was a ‘game-wrecker’ that same year per Pagano.

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Those sound great and all, but these have almost become a detriment to those who acquire such nicknames. For the longest time, it was almost exclusively how Pagano spoke and sometimes still does. Almost like the guy who butters you up for days with the sole purpose of borrowing money from you after he’s reeled you in enough.

As we all know by now, the Colts have been terrible rushing the passer during Pagano’s tenure. The team has been in the top-10 in the league in sacks only once in the past 5 seasons, and in three of those other four seasons they’ve been 19th or worse. 33 sacks isn’t going to cut it.

With this new group, we haven’t heard those typical Pagano-isms quite yet. He’s laid back a bit before crowning each and every player the team adds as the next impact player in a collage of excessive mumbo jumbo. Recently, Pagano had another opportunity to drop one of his famous analogies. But, this time it was different.

Pagano was asked about what he saw from one of his newest outside linebackers Jabaal Sheard and surprisingly enough, didn’t mince words into any awkward, forced phrases at all. Instead, Pagano actually sounded as though he was scouting Sheard through the first week of training camp instead of searching for a strange comparison to add to his reel.

These are not the type of quotes we typically get from Chuck. Very specific, very upfront and honest about what he sees with Sheard. Not to mention, double-digit sacks. This isn’t just a different approach to describing a player he hopes to have a great year from, it’s a real examination that actually means something.

Sheard has been one of the guys at camp that has only periodically stood out. He has indeed showed well against the run, he’s smart and he’s also very strong showing power through his rush off the edge. I’ve even stated that “They are both capable of being 8-10 sack ceiling guys” in last week’s Mailbag when referring to the respective ceilings of John Simon and Sheard.

But, that’s me, I’m supposed to offer those assessments. Pagano doesn’t typically do that. This is….refreshing. In the same breath, Pagano will be crucified if Sheard doesn’t pop this year. We as a fan base, however, should welcome more of this. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t some junk prediction. It was an honest answer to a simple question.

Is Sheard capable of racking up at least 10 sacks this season? He has come close with at least 7 sacks in three of his six NFL seasons, so the potential is certainly there. Additionally, he's had the added input from one of the best to ever rush the passer in Robert Mathis to help him polish up his game and that certainly can't hurt. Will he reach that double-digit sack total in 2017 though? We should all hope so.