I don’t think that former Steelers offensive coordinator had head coaching on his mind when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts as their new OC for the 2012. But, a sudden diagnosis of leukemia for Chuck Pagano has thrust Arians into the head coaching position.
Monday brought somber news to Colts fans as news was released that head coach Chuck Pagano is suffering from a treatable form of leukemia. According to multiple outlets, Pagano (52) was showing symptoms of the disease – fatigue and easy bruising – during training camp but waited until the bye week to have tests. Pagano has started treatments as of last week and is slated to be in the hospital for the next six weeks. Colts owner Jim Irsay moved Arians to the role of head coach and was clear to state that Pagano would not be back as head coach the rest of the season.
Of course, our thoughts and prayers go out to Pagano, his family, and the Colts organization. Leukemia is a nasty cancer where being ‘cured’ means that the cancer is in remission for five years. Just five. We hope that Mr. Pagano beats the odds and defeats this cancer.
The football implications of this turn of events could either keep the Colts on pace or turn out to be devastating. Arians has only been a positional coach or offensive coordinator his whole NFL career. He was head coach for Temple back in the mid 80’s for five seasons. Arians had been highly criticized as a coordinator while in Pittsburgh, but so far he’s been moving the Colts in a positive direction after their dismal 2-14 season last year. He’s continued his tradition of working well with young talent – especially rookie QB Andrew Luck. They currently have the lowest scoring offense in the AFC, but there are glimmers of a good offense each game.
The question is: Will the Colts offense and the development of Andrew Luck take a setback now that Arians will be taking over head coaching duties? And, who will call the offensive plays from the sidelines? Will every offensive play be a bubble screen to Reggie Wayne? I’m never a fan of a head coach who also calls plays. That kind of duality breeds inconsistency in a team and spells trouble in my opinion.
The rest of the season will be difficult for the Colts. Even though Pagano is new as of this year to the Colts, no player or staff wants to see this happen to one of their own. It will effect them emotionally and mentally and more than likely translate a bit on the field. This is a tough time for Arians – as a cancer survivor himself, you have to think that plays on his mind a bit. The whole thing is a damn shame, and I hope to see Pagano back on the sidelines soon.