Indianapolis Colts Chuck Pagano: under the radar in ’13

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano; who took leave for a few months last season when he was diagnosed with leukemia. The 53 year old had to endure a multi-week stay in the hospital for chemotherapy treatment. The team rallied around him with the #chuckstrong motto. Team cheerleaders even shaved their heads to show solidarity with Chuck Pagano. And once he was cleared by doctors, his last round of chemotherapy, he returned to coaching, just in time for the NFL playoffs.

Chuck Pagano also gave one hell of a pregame speech last year. It made me one hell of a Colts fan; and of course a fan of Chuck Pagano.

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Recovering Colts coach Chuck Pagano writes letter to people of Indiana

chuck-strong

While battling the monstrous illness of leukemia, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano received a massive outpouring of public support. The Indiana statehouse included the Chuckstrong term in its Christmas lights, the term itself became a national trend, Colts cheerleaders and players shaved their heads in support of him. Pagano will return to the sidelines and coach for the first time since being diagnosed in September.

He’ll prepare his team for the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Wild Card tomorrow with his leukemia fully in remission. h/t Helmet2Helmet

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Indianapolis Colts earn playoff berth with 20-13 win at Kansas City

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The Indianapolis Colts, against nearly all preseason odds, have secured perhaps one of the most remarkable one-year turnarounds in NFL history.

The Colts, who in 2011 endured a woeful 2-14 campaign and subsequently cleaned house to make way for No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck, clinched a Wild Card berth in the AFC playoffs Sunday with their 10th win of the 2012 season, a rather ugly 20-13 triumph against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

While he wasn’t pretty for much of the contest, Luck set all sorts of records with the win, including breaking Cam Newton’s single-season rookie passing yardage mark and tying the record of seven game-winning drives in a single season.

Indianapolis wraps up the regular season against the Houston Texans next Sunday at 1 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium, and coach Chuck Pagano, who has missed each game since Week 3 while successfully undergoing treatment for leukemia, is slated to return to his post on the sidelines.

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Indianapolis Colts could make push for division title with win at Houston

The Indianapolis Colts have exceeded even the wildest of expectations this season.

The departure of Peyton Manning? A rookie quarterback and a young roster overall, working against a salary cap strapped with dead money? The Colts’ task was daunting entering the season.

And then, three weeks in, the team’s new head coach, Chuck Pagano, was diagnosed with leukemia and would miss most of the season while undergoing treatment (Pagano is in remission and could return to the sideline Dec. 30).

Anyone would have understood if this young squad had won just four games, and five or six wins would have been considered good given the circumstances.

But no. These “ChuckStrong” Colts (9-4) remarkably have showed grit and determination late in games, led by their sensational signal-caller, Andrew Luck; they amazingly stand one win away from clinching a playoff spot and control their own destiny for the AFC South title, the first of two crucial matchups with the Houston Texans (11-2) occurring at 1 p.m. today at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

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Chuck Pagano’s inspirational speech to Colts (video)

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Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is currently battling leukemia. He is of course on indefinite leave from the team to take care of his health and deal with something so much larger than NFL football. He took a break from his chemotherapy to address his team postgame.

They just beat the Miami Dolphins. #Chuckstrong!
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Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts: Brutally Honest Preview

The Green Bay Packers have had one of the tougher schedules to start the year. They started with the stout 49ers, a division rival in the Bears, a Seattle game marred by the replacement refs and a Saints team desperate for a win. To come out of that with a 2-2 record could be looked at as a success or an utter disappointment.

And just when you thought the road gets a little easier, it doesn’t.

The Packers travel to Indianapolis to take on a Colts team who will be playing with heavy hearts after learning about their Head Coach Chuck Pagano and his diagnosis with leukemia.

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Indianapolis Colts look for first win in home opener against Minnesota Vikings

The Indianapolis Colts weren’t so fortunate in the scheduling department for Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season, drawing a matchup against a strong Chicago Bears team at Soldier Field and losing 41-21.

The Colts (0-1) might fare better there this week.

Indianapolis, on the heels of a rough opening to the Andrew Luck era — the No. 1 pick in April’s draft turned the ball over four times in his first career start — will look to grab its first win of the season at 1 p.m. today in its home opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

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Indianapolis Colts open Andrew Luck era against Chicago Bears

Finally.

After such an incredibly turbulent offseason, perhaps the most turbulent one since infamously moving to Indianapolis in 1984, the Indianapolis Colts finally have a real football game to play today, the first one coached by Chuck Pagano and quarterbacked by Andrew Luck.

A new era. A fresh start.

We certainly won’t learn everything about this majorly overhauled roster after its contest with the Chicago Bears at 1 p.m. at Soldier Field. From what we saw during training camp and preseason action, though, can give us a good idea of what areas to watch specifically as the Colts truly enter a brave new post-Peyton Manning world.

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Andrew Luck makes strong statement in debut for Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts’ 2012 preseason opener, unlike such games in years past, was significant. It would offer the fan base its first look at the Colts under GM Ryan Grigson, coach Chuck Pagano and, most importantly, new franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.

Safe to say that first look was a good one.

Luck, heir apparent to Peyton Manning, looked a lot like the great former Colts quarterback in several ways Sunday in leading Indy to a 38-3 wallop of the St. Louis Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium, and not just because his first pass as a professional went for a touchdown.

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The Great Unknown: 2012 Indianapolis Colts preview

The Indianapolis Colts have endured quite the eventful — and often turbulent — offseason in 2012.

The firings of Vice Chairman Bill Polian, GM Chris Polian and coach Jim Caldwell. The hires of GM Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano.

The release of quarterback Peyton Manning, the greatest and most iconic Indianapolis Colt of all time, and the subsequent cuts of long-time fan favorites Joseph Addai, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt and Dallas Clark.

The selection of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck — the franchise’s cornerstone for the future — with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

And on the not-so-bright side, the fan backlash at owner Jim Irsay and the club, particularly for parting with Manning and for announcing just weeks ago the Colts would black out home games that weren’t 100-percent sold out despite a new league rule that allows a minimum 85-percent attendance to air games.

After all this uber-whirlwind of change and drama surrounding the Colts, it’s finally, thankfully, time to play some football.

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Indianapolis Colts 2012 NFL Draft preview: Andrew Luck, then what?

New Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson made official Tuesday what we all pretty much knew back in January: the franchise will select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in today’s NFL Draft.

Luck is billed as the most pro-ready quarterback prospect to enter the league since Peyton Manning, the man he’s succeeding in Indianapolis. Some would go even further back and call Luck the surest thing since fellow Stanford great John Elway.

While I personally think such opinions are a bit overkill, I do think very highly of Luck, and I believe he can be the Colts’ next franchise signal-caller for many years to come. Given the recent organizational overhaul in Indy, however, quarterback is far from this team’s only thin spot. The Colts could use talent upgrades everywhere.

The fun, analytically speaking, starts with the No. 34 pick.

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The only story with the Indianapolis Colts is Peyton Manning

Just so you know, the Colts have made a few major changes this offseason.

Bill and Chris Polian are gone. In their place is new general manager Ryan Grigson, formerly a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office.

Oh, and former coach Jim Caldwell also is out of town. The new guy? Chuck Pagano, who spent the 2011 season as the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator. Word is he plans to do away with the Colts’ familiar Tampa 2 defense and install a hybrid 3-4 scheme.

The Colts have some new coordinators too, you know. Bruce Arians, who was the team’s quarterbacks coach from 1998-2000 and previously served as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is back in Indy to conduct the offense (Clyde Christensen isn’t gone, though. He’s quarterbacks coach now). Greg Manusky, who in 2011 was the San Diego Chargers’ defensive coordinator, now has that position here.

Any other offseason, these would be HUGE stories that would command their own blog posts. But this offseason? We hardly have heard a peep from or about any of these guys. There’s only one story surrounding the Indianapolis Colts right now: the very public dilemma between Peyton Manning and owner Jim Irsay that eventually will lead to the four-time MVP’s exit from town.

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