With the end of the Colts’ season Sunday came an end to a surprisingly long reprieve. Chuck Pagano was fired as head coach, after six seasons, none more tumultuous or unsuccessful than this last one. So the coaching search that was almost universally expected after the 2015 and 2016 seasons can officially begin. It will begin with the uncertainty over Andrew Luck’s health, after the franchise quarterback missed the entire season. Colts owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard (who inherited Pagano before this season, his first), will likely include these names for consideration. Nick Saban, head coach, Alabama Irsay certainly is the type to roll the dice and take a shot at the gem of the college coaching candidate pool. It would calm the rage of the local fans who see the Andrew Luck era being wasted. Saban’s legacy is set, especially if he manages to win it all again with Alabama this year; that makes this different from his last college-to-NFL leap, from LSU to the Dolphins. Why not? David Shaw, head coach, Stanford Once again, Shaw and Luck reuniting seems to make too much sense to overlook — even if, as he continues to do, Shaw insists on staying in college. Everything about him makes him an ideal choice to make the transition, especially the Luck connection. No, the grab at the Luck ties didn't work out before, with offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. This is different, though. Bruce Arians, head coach, Cardinals Arians vehemently denied recent reports of his retirement from the Cardinals. Seeing him walk away from there to return to his first head-coaching job, even though it was as an interim while Pagano won a cancer battle, still isn’t implausible. Neither would some sort of deal for the Colts to get him out of Arizona in a trade. Again, back in Indy, with a healthy and older Luck, and likely with a combo of his Colts and Cardinals staffs … it's not crazy. Matt Patricia, defensive coordinator, Patriots One of the two long-time coordinators off of Bill Belichick’s staff ready to fly the coop, Patricia would be doing it for the first time, after getting feelers last offseason.
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Sporting News | Jan 2