With a healthy Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts perhaps could have flirted with .500, and if a lot of breaks went their way, maybe – maybe – they could have flirted with the Wild Card. Absolute best-case scenario.
But without Andrew Luck, the Colts (0-2) are bad. Really bad. And it could cost Chuck Pagano his job.
Could the Colts fire him if the team doesn’t start winning?
“Oh, they could absolutely fire him. I would be shocked if Chuck’s back next year,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think if Chuck took some truth serum right now, he would tend to think, ‘Yeah, the odds were really against me a few years back when I got the extension along with (former general manager Ryan) Grigson, but now it’s even more bleak because Luck isn’t on the field and they’re not sure exactly when he’s coming back.’”
Luck, 28, is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. There are reports that he would like to leave Indy – or at least play for a different head coach.
La Canfora, however, isn’t buying it, especially with Luck signing a six-year, $140-million extension with Indy last year.
“I don’t buy this idea that he wants to go somewhere else,” La Canfora said. “He just re-hitched this wagon to them a few months back to the tune of $75 million in the first three years of the contract.”
Although Luck hasn’t played this season, he’s scored as many touchdowns as Andy Dalton: zero. In fact, the Bengals (0-2) haven’t scored a single touchdown through two games.
Is it time for AJ McCarron?
“If you’re talking (about) what to look for (in terms of) changes with the Bengals, that’s not on the front burner,” La Canfora said. “They’re not trying to start gearing up McCarron on the fly or getting him more snaps. Now if we reach the middle of the season and this is still who they are, it stands to reason that McCarron could get an opportunity in the second half of the year, especially if the owner is sitting there saying, ‘Do I really need to keep paying Andy Dalton $15 million year? Or do we trade Andy Dalton and ride with McCarron, who teams have been interested in trading for for a year-and-a-half or so now?’
“So I think it’s dependent on how they play in the next six to eight weeks,” La Canfora continued. “But if this is a problem in November and they’re not moving the ball – and look, a lot of this is pass protection. It runs deep. Think of the brain drain. Think of all the brains that have left that building and all the bodies that have left that building: two really good complementary receivers, a left tackle, one of the best guards in the game. And then you add in guys who went on to become head coaches: the play-callers, Hue Jackson, Jay Gruden, (Mike Zimmer). (Tyler) Eifert hasn’t really been on the field for a couple of years now and he’s already out this week, and they drafted a kid (John Ross) who was hurt when they drafted him and has stayed hurt since. So there’s a lot of fingers to point offensively at them – not just at Dalton.”