Chuck Pagano is an emotional guy. We know this.
But his post-game speech on Sunday – which came after the Colts came back to beat the Titans, 35-33, and avoid an 0-3 start – was pretty intense. Pagano, immensely proud of his team, was on the verge of the tears.
Isn’t that a little much for Week 3?
“Well, I think that’s the pressure that somehow he and the GM (have created) – and I would blame more the GM,” NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, referring to Ryan Grigson. “(Pagano)can coach. He’s created and brought in a winning environment. He brought in a winning coaching staff. They’ve won games there.”
The problem, according to Dukes? The expectations.
“We’re just trying to anoint Andrew Luck so fast,” Dukes said. “I’ve never seen a time in our history where we’re just trying to anoint somebody as opposed to letting them play themselves into being that guy. And I’m an Andrew Luck fan. But I look at these guys on TV and . . . the expectations that all these people (have) are falsely propagating him up to be something that he just hasn’t earned yet. Why is there a rush to not let him earn it like everybody else has earned it?”
Does that man we’ve overrated Luck thus far in his career?
“No, no, no,” Dukes said, “but think about it. Everybody you hear (says), ‘Oh, he’s the next best thing since sliced bread.’ Well, he’s a good quarterback, but winning championships – that’s going to make your legend. You can’t artificially inseminate somebody’s legend, and I just see too many people, in my opinion, trying too hard to artificially inseminate a guy who I am a fan of. And I say it again: I’m a fan of his. But I see this movement (to anoint him). You have to earn this stuff in this league.”
Indeed, many people are treating Luck as though as he’s already won multiple Super Bowls. Let’s just see how it plays out.
“We’re pushing him there,” Dukes said. “Let’s just let it unfold – because that’s the beauty of this game. There’s nothing that I can do or nothing that Deion Sanders can do or Kirk Herbstreit (can do). There’s nothing that anybody can say that’s going to etch this kid’s place where it needs to be. He’s got to win the games. He’s got to lead the team to the the promised land. If he doesn’t do that, he’s just another guy who’s putting up good numbers.”
Is it possible that the expectations surrounding Luck have actually hurt the Colts?
“I think it’s added pressure,” Dukes said. “The pressure is it’s Super Bowl or bust. I don’t know how. That defense isn’t what it needs to be. That offensive line isn’t what it needs to be, and in this league, you win in the trenches. So they’re anointing them the Super Bowl favorites just based on Luck as opposed to saying, ‘Let’s look at this team. They got assets. They have pieces. But they’re not built yet to be that team.’ And you got to be built for it.”