3:26pm: Colts owner Jim Irsay issued a statement this afternoon, tweeting, “As of today, no decision has been made with respect to any structural changes within the Colts organization for 2016 and beyond.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Pagano – or Grigson – won’t be let go next week, but it’s a reminder that nothing is official yet.
2:37pm: This weekend’s game against the Titans will likely be Chuck Pagano‘s last as the Colts’ head coach, according to Mike Wells of ESPN.com, who reports that Indianapolis isn’t expected to bring back Pagano for the 2016 season (Twitter link). Even taking account that they were without Andrew Luck for about half the season, the Colts have underachieved this year, so Pagano’s ouster would come as no surprise.
Although the Colts are planning to dismiss Pagano, it’s not yet clear what the future holds for general manager Ryan Grigson. According to Wells (Twitter link), Grigson is expected to remain with the team at least through the search for a new head coach, but there’s no guarantee he’ll keep his job beyond that, despite his strong relationship with owner Jim Irsay.
Having to find a new GM as well as new head coach may result in the Colts missing out on some head coaching candidates while they focus on hiring a GM, but it still seems unusual that the club might allow Grigson to help find a coach, only to part ways with him afterward. Generally, a new general manager prefers to bring in his own head coach.
As Wells wrote earlier today, the relationship between Pagano and Grigson has deteriorated this year. Sources tell Wells that the two men have had little communication this season, with one source describing their relationship as “toxic.”
After finishing with an 11-5 record and an AFC South crown for three straight seasons, the Colts entered 2015 with Super Bowl aspirations, but took a significant step backward. At 7-8, Indianapolis is an extreme long shot to win the division again this year.
While the Colts’ struggles could be attributed, at least in part, to injuries and questionable roster construction, Pagano was already under pressure to win heading into the year, with the team offering him only a one-year extension rather than any sort of longer-team deal — he turned down that offer. Pagano holds a 40-23 record during his four years in Indianapolis, which includes the time he missed in 2012 due to cancer treatments.