Baltimore's loss is Indianapolis' gain.
When I called a source within the Ravens Wednesday and asked how he was doing he didn't sound so good.
"I assume you're calling about Chuck Pagano," he said.
"When guys here found out," he said, "they were devastated."
I can see why. Pagano did a terrific job with the Ravens' defense this year, an outfit that allowed the fewest offensive touchdowns (21) of anyone out there and ranked third overall. The Ravens always have been tough defensively, but they were especially tough this season -- holding Tom Brady last weekend to no touchdown passes for the first time in 19 straight playoff games.
Maybe that sold the Colts. Or maybe it was Pagano's "presence" that some people talk about. All I know is that he did a credible job with one of the league's best units. And he did a remarkable job against the league's best quarterback, with Baltimore intercepting Brady twice and holding the Patriots to two TDs.
My only question: Is this too much too soon? It was only a year ago that Pagano was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. Now he's a head coach of a very successful franchise. That's a huge jump in one season, and it'll become bigger once we know what happens to Peyton Manning.
The smart money is on Manning not returning to Indianapolis, which means the Colts are in rebuilding mode -- starting with the draft of quarterback Andrew Luck. That will buy Pagano time. But the Colts have a decade of success built with Manning, so fans won't be overly patient.
One other question I had is what differentiates Pagano from, say, a Rex Ryan, who was hired away from Baltimore in 2008?
"He has a strong sense of self," one insider said. "He knows what to say and when to say it. Rex sometimes will say things that he doesn't really believe, but he says it because he's brash and people expect it."
I don't care what Pagano says. I just care what he does. Ryan went to conference championship games his first two years on the job, and that would work just fine for Indianapolis.
Pagano is not on the clock, with the honeymoon just starting. But that should last no more than a year. Then we find out what the Colts have in their new head coach.