NFL News: Colts hire new head coach, Saints staff safe for now


The Indianapolis Colts are a franchise in peril, not even Peyton Manning knows if he will return to the team, but for now the re-building process has begun and a new head coach will take over effective tomorrow.

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has been hired by Irsay and the Colts to become their next head coach after an exhaustive search.

Irsay, and new GM Ryan Grigson, went right to work attempting to find Caldwell’s predecessor.

The list of those interviewed was impressive: Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, 49ers special teams coach Brad Seely, Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman, and even Jim Tressel.

Indianapolis was also said to be interested in Saints offensive line/running backs coach Aaron Kromer, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, and former Vikings head coach Brad Childress.

But the Colts found their man in Pagano, who lead the Ravens in his one and only season to the NFL’s third-ranked defense in both scoring (16.6 ppg) and total yards (288.9 ypg).

Pagano will be replacing Jim Caldwell after a 2-14 season absent Peyton Manning, who missed the entire year after undergoing neck surgery in the off season prior to the start of the 2011 season.

For Saints fans they can breathe a collective sigh of relief — no more coaches appear to be on their way out of New Orleans — that includes Carmichael and Kromer.

Earlier this off season the Saints lost defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to the St. Louis Rams.

It’s likely though that he wouldn’t have been brought back for another season anyway after a failed 2011 campaign where his defense was beat consistently, also failing to generate sacks even with constant blitzing.

Head coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis moved quick to find a replacement, hiring Steve Spagnuolo to take over the defense only days after it was confirmed Gregg Williams would actually be leaving for the Rams.

Most feel Spagnuolo is an upgrade, and hopes are high that the Saints defense will show dramatic improvement under his tutelage.

New Orleans also lost assistant special teams coach Joe Bonamego, and secondary coach Tony Oden to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wide receiver coach Curtis Jackson was hired by Tulane University to become their new head coach.