News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Colts

January 27, 2012

Pagano wants aggressive defense with Colts

INDIANAPOLIS — When the Colts went looking for a new head coach, a good portion of the team’s fans made it clear that they wanted a departure from the laid-back style of former coaches Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell.

With the addition of Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis will have a high-energy head coach on the sidelines and on the practice field.

“Words can’t describe the emotions that I’m going through right now and the feelings,” he said. “Coming off probably the most devastating loss that I’ve ever been a part of in the AFC championship game [23-20 to New England] and to go in that locker room and see those faces and we all know how hard it is to get to that stage and to see the tears. It’s an all-time low, and the last thing I ever expected came across my table and now I sit here at an all-time high.”

Considered to be a players coach after his recent stint directing the Ravens defense, Pagano wants his players to have fun and to play at a fast tempo.

“We’re going to build [this team] on trust, dedication and leadership. We’re going to have fun. We’re going to work at a high pace. I’m ready to get to work,” he said.

“We just cut our guys loose. We’re going to do a great job here. We have some explosive athletes. We will add to that and evolve, as drafts go by and free agency goes by. I think players like to play that way. We never ankle-weighted our players This is a reaction game. You don’t have time to think. You see, you react, and you run. That’s the kind of guys we have here now and will bring in. We want to be aggressive. We want to dictate the tempo defensively. We want them reacting to us and not vice versa. We will have schemes in place that allow our players to play to play and be aggressive.”

There were no announcements about the composition of a coaching staff. Pagano, though, expects to move at a steady pace.

“Over the course of 28 years of coaching you develop relationships. You have a list of people from coordinators on down. There’s a volume of really good coaches out there,” he said. “There is quality people here. I will take time to talk to them and if it meshes and they’re a part of our vision we can move forward from there. I don’t foresee any problem putting together the best staff in the NFL.”

Pagano ran a 3-4 defense in Baltimore. He plans to evaluate the personnel he’ll inherit in Indianapolis first,” Pagano said. “I’ve got countless, countless hours of film to watch. I can sit back and we spend a season watching tape, but I’ve got to dive into this and evaluate every player in that locker room. I’ve got to look at every player on the defense. I’m not going to be hard-headed enough and certainly the defensive coordinator that we bring in here and the defensive coaching staff we bring in here, we’re not going to try to jam a square peg into a round hole. We’re going to find out the strengths of this unit, the weaknesses, and we’re going to put them in the best possible position to be successful to win games.

“If we can move towards the type of defense, the brand of defense that we’ve been playing where I just came from, we can evolve to that. I was talking to Mr. Irsay, if Wade Phillips can go to the Houston Texans and install the 3-4 with no offseason and make Mario Williams an outside linebacker and stand him up on early downs, that the two explosive, great athletes, the great pass rushers that we have on the edge here, I don’t see an issue. Our motto is simple me, complex you. To say I’m a 3-4 guy, we want to build a defense that is really flexible. It’s going to be really simple for our guys to execute, but when the offense prepares for it and they see it on Sunday, it’s going to look very complex to them. Just because we may line up and they say ‘Hey, look, they’re a 3-4 team,’ we could be a 4-3 team on first down, we could be an odd 3-4 look on second down and the Lord only knows on third-and-7-plus. That’s our goal. That would be my answer to that.”

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