In what is expected to be his final Friday chat with reporters as the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach, Chuck Pagano insisted he’s strictly focused on Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Tennessee Titans.
Widespread Thursday reports suggested it will be his final game with the Colts. Owner Jim Irsay released a response, stating no decisions had yet been made about the future.
The final question posed to Pagano pertained to Irsay’s statement. Did he read anything into it?
“I’ve had no time to think about any of that stuff other than preparing for this ball game,” Pagano said.
The Colts (7-8) have the slimmest of shots to make the playoffs entering the 1 p.m. kickoff against the Titans (3-12) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Nine outcomes, including their own, must be favorable to earn a tiebreaker over the Houston Texans (8-7).
That Pagano wouldn’t elaborate on his situation was to be expected. He’s talked at length in these final weeks about focusing on the tasks at hand. This week, that meant breaking in two new quarterbacks, Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley.
Pagano said a decision hasn’t been made on whether one of those two newcomers or first-year pro Stephen Morris would start. Andrew Luck hasn’t been cleared, backup Matt Hasselbeck has been ruled out and backup Charlie Whitehurst was placed on injured reserve on Monday.
“We’ll look at today’s work and the past couple days and then make a decision,” Pagano said. “Might play them all. Might play them all.”
He conceded the team has had to scale back the playbook and the extensive teaching has even included, “(We) had to teach them how to lift their leg to get a snap from center in the shotgun. It’s been a heck of a deal.”
Always one to accentuate the positive, he suggested the Colts had their best Friday workout of the season.
“Guys were focused. They were locked in,” he said. “Coaches did a great job of getting the short yardage, goal line, red zone plan together. Did some third-down work. I thought we’ve had an excellent week of preparation. Come in tomorrow like always, clean up what we need to clean up and final prep for the Titans.”
Pagano seemed at ease amid all the uncertainty, which prompted another question about having an upbeat demeanor.
“Does it seem like it?” the fourth-year coach said with a smile. “Got another day, right? Not promised anything, so we’re going to attack every single day with everything that we’ve got.”
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