At 3:00 PM EST the Indianapolis Colts held a press conference to introduce new head coach Chuck Pagano. Owner Jim Irsay, General Manager Ryan Grigson, and Head Coach Pagano were all available for comment. What follows is an unofficial transcript that was tweeted live by @coltsauthority.
Brief Highlights and Feedback:
Pagano intends to bring a physical defensive style with him, like he coached in Baltimore. However, he is not going to force the pieces he has in Indianapolis to be something they’re not. He will take his time transitioning to the new defense and play to the strengths of his personnel.
It sounds very much like Pagano will have a lot of influence in who else will fill out the coaching staff. Over his years of coaching experience he has compiled a list of guys he would like to work with and he will sit down with Ryan Grigson and Jim Irsay as early as Thursday evening and over the weekend to hash out who is the best fit and get guys in for interviews.
It’s very important to Pagano that he forms relationships with everyone on the team, including players, office workers, janitors, the lunch lady, and even members of the media. He will make it a priority to establish trust and relationships, without which he says there is no chance the team can succeed.
Pagano is sincere and funny. He is a very likable personality and will be granted considerable leeway by local media and fans as he turns take the franchise in a new direction.
We are excited to introduce the Indianapolis Colts new head coach, Chuck Pagano. I couldn’t be more excited. I think that when this process began and I saw at the end of the year that there would be restructuring of the franchise at the very top. When I saw a vision of restructuring the franchise, rebuilding the franchise, my goal was to get an outstanding team, at this point led by Ryan and Chuck, to lead us into the future.
I didn’t want to have a retread process, I didn’t want to play an old song from another era from another franchise. I wanted to bring in what I thought gave use the best chance to move forward.
We interviewed eight candidates. Credit to those men. Every single one of those candidates were qualified and outstanding. In the end Chuck brings a toughness with his players.
Just like Ryan, with Chuck I could feel it. He came into it with his soul, with his heart, and the type of passion that we’re looking for.
I want to thank Mr. Irsay for letting me be a part of this vision and being a part of this process to get our man. That man is Chuck Pagano.
He has things you can’t fake. He has true leadership, he is a leader of men. His style transcends age. He has played an impressive physical brand of football. A great football background, it is in his family, in his blood.
Like us, he has a love for the game.
Chuck Pagano Opening Statement:
It has been a whirlwind. Words can’t describe the emotions that I’m going through right now. Coming off of probably the most devastating loss I’ve ever been a part of in the AFC Championship game. To go into that locker room and face those men.
Now here I sit, at an all time high. Now I’m at the top of the pinnacle. I’ve spent 28 years of my life in coaching waiting for this opportunity.
I have Mr. Irsay to thank. He had enough patience to wait. When John requested that he called and wanted to speak to me, I was done. I talked to Ryan and expressed my concerns. I had waited my whole life for this moment but I hadn’t put one hour into preparing for the interview. He said to not worry about the power points… just come and we want to get to know Chuck Pagano. I can’t think Mr. Irsay enough for this opportunity.
I want to thank Ryan for being persistent. We have had conversations before that didn’t work out. I thought I would be coming to Indy to be playing for a World Championship and certainly not to be head coach. I can’t wait to get started I would like to thank Pete and Dan for making this transition smooth.
I would be remiss, my late father-in-law who said if you don’t have your faith, if you don’t have your family, you have nothing. We all know in this business, the sacrifice, and the time away that we spend, the support they’ve all given me, I wouldn’t be here today without the support of my family. Thank you very much for that.
I think the most pressing issue now to me, if someone asked me if you had a hundred hours. What would you do with those first 100 hours. I think for me, I would spend 60-61 of them getting to know the team. I will spend time getting to know every one of you in this building, outside of this building, and most importantly I want to get to know the players. I want to know your family. I want to build a relationship. To me, if you don’t have that relationship and you don’t have that trust. You don’t have anything. Our foundation, our dreams, are all going to be built on that.
I will reach out to each and every one of those men. Starting building relationships, start building that trust. I will reach out to each and every man and woman in this organization who do so much behind the scenes… in the cafeteria… do we have a cafeteria? [chuckles] Whoever is cleaning our offices. From the top man to the last man. We’re going to build this on trusts, relationships, commitment and dedication.
I understand what I just signed up for. Mr. Irsay started this 40 years ago when he was twelve years old picking up jocks and socks. At the same time I was carrying water out to my Dad’s players. I want to say thank you to my Mom and Dad, I grew up in a football family. My passion, my energy, I saw it growing up first hand. I am forever in debt to them for that.
We have collectively got to come together. It’s going to be my responsibility, along with Ryan and Mr. Irsay to re-energize. Every decision we make is for the team. Every decision we make is because we want to win. As an organization I will ask everybody to make that commitment. Be loyal, be trustworthy, be dedicated, and carry that same vision. If we are not all on the same page we have no chance. If we are on the same page, and I know we will be… we are here to build eachother up, we are here to laugh and have fun. And we will win, and will laugh and have a lot of fun. I would just ask that everybody buy in.
I am excited about being here. This is a storied franchise. A lot of players of walked through these doors and won a championship. We’ll watch the game [the Super Bowl]. We’ll root for who we root for, I’m guessing Eli [laughs] I hope I hit that one right, I’m guessing I did. I know I will [root for Eli].
The product is winning the Super Bowl. The product is winning the Lombardi. The process is every day. There’s 65-66 plays you’re just swinging back and forth. There’s going to be 5-6 plays that make the difference. You can’t pick and choose which ones to play. Fundamental football. Situational football. We’ll be well versed and well drilled in all of these areas.
I would say to the organization the great city of Indianapolis, the great fans… we’re going to put a product out there that best represents them. And together we’re going after that trophy. I don’t know when, and I’m not talking about just one. I can’t put a time table on it but that’s our mission.
The resources are in place. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves. We’re going to put a phenomenal staff together. Being in the business as long as I have, I have developed a ton of great relationships. Ryan has a ton of great relationships, and Mr. Irsay. We will put together the best staff in the NFL.
I want the culture around here to be one that you can laugh, smile, say hi, you know, we’re a family. When it is time to get to business we’ll get to business. When it’s time to have fun we’ll have fun. Thank you Mr. Irsay. Thank you Ryan. I’m ready to go to work.
Question: How do you define leadership?
Pagano: The speed of the leader always determines the speed of the pack. If I’m working hard, others will follow. I just came from an organization that had a great leader who is still playing and there is one playing here who has been here for a long time. I just think that, with the right man in charge, and the assistant coaches that we put together… character, work ethic we’ll build the type of leadership we’re looking for.
Question: Do you expect to be coaching Peyton Manning?
Pagano: I have a text out to Rob Lowe. I haven’t heard back from him so I’ll have to get back to you. [laughs]
Question: More physical defense. How will that affect you here?
Pagano: I have a lot of film to watch. The defensive coordinator and defensive coaching staff will not try to jam a square peg in a round hole. If we can move towards 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 into Houston and stand up Mario Wiliams, with the two great pass rushers we have here I don’t see the problem. Just because we may line up and they may say they’re a 3-4 team, we could be an odd 3-4 look on second down and lord only knows on 3rd and seven-plus.
Question: How much did Manning come up?
Pagano: Mr. Irsay has a great relationship and great understanding of that situation and as the days come and weeks go by I think that situation will take care of itself. Whether it be Reggie, or Gary…
Question: Is crying allowed in the tough Pagano family?
Pagano: I’ve been known to shed a tear from time to time. At the movies, Torry bumps her sister and says, “he has a tear running, what’s he crying about?”
Question: Brother [John Pagano, San Diego Chargers Defensive Coordinator] joining?
Pagano: I don’t know anything about that, I think that would be tampering.
Question: If Lee Evans hadn’t dropped that touchdown pass would this opportunity have passed you by?
Pagano: I think that’s a question for Mr. Irsay. Probably because it would be another two weeks. I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball.
Pagano: Promise to wreak havoc. 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 and be aggressive.
Question: Did you have staff you talked about wanting to bring?
Pagano: No. 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. 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.
Question: Will the Super Bowl alter the time table any?
Pagano: No. We’ve already had discussions. As soon as we get done here and over the weekend we’re going to start acting on these things. We’re not going to rush on these things. We’re not recruiting. We’re not going to knock on doors and talking to Mommy’s and Daddy’s to get them to your school. We’re going to take our time getting the right guys. If the chemistry right in in the offensive locker room and the the chemistry is right in the defensive locker room you’re going to see this*** alluding to wins, championships. No time table.
Question: Biggest challenge?
Pagano: Starting to put together the staff. That’s first and foremost, huge. The type of men, I can’t tell you who it’s going to be. We want men of character. Great work ethic, great teachers, guys of passion. The biggest challenge will be putting that group of men together.
Question: Talked to Reggie?
Pagano: We missed eachother, he was getting on a plane. Got ahold of him through Ed Reed. We talked a lot during our game, if you can believe it or not. I look forward to not only visiting with Reggie but every one of these men and starting to build that relationship.