2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Arians leading Colts to surprising success

    2012-11-13 04:00

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck are getting all the national attention.

Talk to anyone in the Colts locker room, and they'll tell you interim coach Bruce Arians is a major part in Indianapolis' stunning turnaround, too. Maybe the biggest contributor of all.

``I call him the MVP of our team because he came in and kept things churning along,'' outside linebacker Robert Mathis said Monday. ``He's making sure we take care of Chuck's legacy.''

Arians is doing things the way he always has - with a passionate, down-to-earth, fun-loving personality and a relentless desire to get things right.

So while the rest of the football world looks at Luck's progression and Pagano's personal battle, Arians has been doing the dirty work to keep this rebuilding project on task.

Nobody can quibble with the results.

In the six weeks since replacing his close friend, who was diagnosed with a form of leukemia Sept. 26, Arians has led the Colts to a 6-3 record and surprisingly into the playoff hunt. He's managed to keep the lines of communication open with Luck, found the right balance between being the head coach and offensive coordinator and even shocked the defensive players by cheering at practice when they come up with turnovers.

He talks and texts regularly with his close friend, serving as both a messenger between the ailing coach and his players and a confidant to Pagano about what is coming next on and off the field.

``The chemo is hitting him pretty good right now, it's been pretty rough,'' said Arians, a 60-year-old prostate cancer survivor. ``He's experiencing that downhill slide now, but he's tough, he'll get through it.''

Few have seen what Arians has done behind the walls, though.

He's been working overtime to meet with Luck. He's carved out extra time to deal with the media requirements. He's worked hard to keep Pagano and his battle front and center, attending three fundraisers in the past six weeks and urging others to make time as well. On Friday, Arians, Luck and Reggie Wayne will host another fundraiser at a sold-out restaurant in downtown Indy.

And yet, he never lost sight of his job.

Arians has helped the Colts make a seamless transition from Peyton Manning to Luck, the new face of this franchise, and one of the league's youngest offenses is now ranked fifth overall and eighth in yards passing.

``He's done a good job keeping us focused on what our mission is, what our objective is,'' outside linebacker Dwight Freeney said. ``He doesn't stray far from what Chuck wants. It's kind of a two-sided monster - it's Chuck being there and him (Arians) keeping that ship well-oiled and maintained.''

The success shouldn't come as a surprise, given Arians' resume.

He spent 20 years as an NFL assistant, mentoring two of the league's best quarterbacks - Manning and Ben Roethlisberger - and seems to have Luck following the same script. Arians also won two Super Bowl rings in Pittsburgh and coached with Paul ``Bear'' Bryant during his final season at Alabama before taking the only head coaching job he ever had, at Temple from 1983-88.

But he never got a chance to coach his own NFL team, and it sure didn't seem like it would happen when he was forced out as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator after last season.

That's when Pagano brought him to Indy, and now as the fill-in for Pagano, Arians is doing things nobody thought possible.

In the midst of monumental rebuilding season, Arians has gone 5-1 with a rookie quarterback, the ninth-youngest team in the league and has helped the Colts surge, not sink, after losing their head coach less than a month into the season. He's even set a franchise record for wins by an interim coach.

How good has he been?

Only eight coaches in league history have won more games after a midseason change than Arians (five).

If the Colts win four of their last seven games, Arians would tie the league record with Hamp Pool, who won nine games with the Los Angeles Rams in 1952, and Wally Lemm, who won nine with the Houston Oilers in 1961.

The only other coach to win more than seven was San Diego's Don Coryell, who won eight in 1978.

It might even be good enough to put Arians in the conversation for NFL coach of the year.

``I think that will be determined by how you finish, not how you started,'' Freeney said. ``It's really too early, but I think you could mention him in that conversation right now because he's had a team that's undergone major change and been part of the advancement of that.''

Even if Arians doesn't have time to ponder that possibility now.

``It's really gotten easier and easier each week for me, balancing the TV and radio and press conferences,'' he said. ``You take an hour or two and early in the week and try to find a message you want to deliver each week. The rest of the time, I try to be the offensive coordinator.''

NOTE: The Colts placed starting cornerback Jerraud Powers (toe) and backup defensive tackle Drake Nevis (hand) on season-ending injured reserve Monday. That gave Indy room to activate fifth-round draft pick Josh Chapman from the reserve-non-injury list. Chapman has been on the list since training camp opened because he played most of last season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh GordonAug 27 01:03p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed to file for reinstatement during his one-year suspension, according to a source. His representatives will look [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 27 12:53p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be suspended for the 2014 season after his appeal of the suspension was denied, according to a source.

Matt SchaubAug 26 04:33p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) missed his third straight day of practice with elbow soreness Tuesday, Aug. 26, but head coach Dennis Allen doesn't think Schaub's injury is [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 26 01:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's hearing for a drunken-driving charge has been rescheduled for November. He was originally scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, Aug. 26. He was arrested [ More ]

Matt SchaubAug 25 07:33p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) is expected to start in Week 1 against the New York Jets, according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen is not worried about [ More ]

Richie IncognitoAug 25 04:53p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have thoroughly looked into free-agent OG Richie Incognito's (Dolphins) background before inviting him for a visit, according to sources. The team has considered meeting with [ More ]

Wes WelkerAug 25 04:13p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) could play in the team's regular season opener Sunday, September 7, if he does not have any concussion symptoms by Monday, September 1. [ More ]

Chase BlackburnAug 25 01:33p

Carolina Panthers OG Trai Turner (groin) and DEs Greg Hardy (shoulder) and Charles Johnson (hamstring) sat out of practice Sunday, Aug. 24. SS Roman Harper (toe), who missed the [ More ]

Dennis DixonAug 25 10:52a

The Buffalo Bills released RB Ronnie Wingo, OT Joe Unga, WR Chris Summers, C Macky MacPherson, DT Damien Jacobs, PK Dustin Hopkins, QB Dennis Dixon, WR Tori Gurley, DB [ More ]

Otis HudsonAug 25 10:32a

The Kansas City Chiefs released WR Deon Anthony, DL Jairus Campbell, DT Jermelle Cudjo, OG Otis Hudson, WR Jerrell Jackson, CB Brandon Jones, CB Vernon Kearney, S Jerron McMillian, [ More ]

Stevan RidleyAug 25 10:03a

New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley may not make the team out of the preseason.

Matt CasselAug 25 09:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Matt Cassel was named the team's starting quarterback over QB Teddy Bridgewater.

Matt SchaubAug 25 09:53a

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) had an MRI reveal no major structural damage in his right elbow.

Bishop SankeyAug 25 09:03a

Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey, who has had fumbling issues due to poor footwork before the hand-off, was better in that regard in the third preseason game over the [ More ]

David SimsAug 25 08:42a

The Indianapolis Colts released CB Johnny Adams, CB Qua Cox, OG Andre Cureton, OG Marcus Hall, CB Kameron Jackson, WR Nu'Keese Richardson, LB Jonathon Sharpe, S David Sims, WR [ More ]

Torell TroupAug 25 08:32a

The Oakland Raiders released DT Torell Troup, TE Kyle Auffray, OT Emmett Cleary, LB Justin Cole, WR Mike Davis, WR Rahsaan Vaughn and CB Jansen Watson.

Alex TanneyAug 25 12:43a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived LS Jeremy Cain, WR Eric Page, QB Alex Tanney, FB Ian Thompson, WR Tommy Streeter, WR Skye Dawson, OT Jace Daniels, OG Jason Foster, [ More ]

LeSean McCoyAug 24 11:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (thumb, toe) said he will be fine for Week 1 after suffering a thumb injury in the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21. McCoy [ More ]

Chase BlackburnAug 24 11:42p

Carolina Panthers LB Chase Blackburn (back) and SS Roman Harper (toe) returned to practice Sunday, Aug. 24.

Tarell BrownAug 24 11:22p

Oakland Raiders DL Justin Ellis (concussion) returned to practice Sunday, Aug. 24, after missing a couple of weeks with a concussion, and CB Tarell Brown (concussion) practiced after leaving [ More ]

Wes WelkerAug 24 11:22p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has a good chance to play in Week 1, according to Mike Klis of The Denver Post. Welker suffered a concussion in the [ More ]

Charles MitchellAug 24 10:32p

The Denver Broncos waived RB Brennan Clay, RB Jerodis Williams, WR Greg Hardin, WR Greg Wilson, QB Bryn Renner, LB Jerrell Harris, CB Charles Mitchell and DL Will Pericak [ More ]

Tahir WhiteheadAug 24 10:30p

Detroit Lions LB Tahir Whitehead had 10 tackles and three sacks during his team's exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 'He was really playing at a level of one [ More ]

Zac StacyAug 24 10:28p

St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford (knee) is out for the season after an MRI revealed a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. Zac Stacy will be relied upon even [ More ]

Richard RodgersAug 24 10:19p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers may be the starting tight end for Week 1 of the regular season. An injury to TE Brandon Bostick, combined with strong play [ More ]

Josh BoyceAug 24 10:06p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce did not play an offensive snap until there was 1:26 remaining in the third quarter of the preseason game Friday, Aug. 22, against [ More ]

Johnny ManzielAug 24 09:47p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could play with QB Brian Hoyer in a two-quarterback system later in the season, according to head coach Mike Pettine. Pettine said a package [ More ]

Winston JusticeAug 24 09:42p

The Denver Broncos released OT Winston Justice and LB Jamar Chaney Sunday, Aug. 24.

D.J. HaydenAug 24 09:12p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) had a good day of work with team trainers, Sunday, Aug. 24, and could return to practice this week, according to head coach Dennis Allen.

Terrell ThomasAug 24 09:02p

The Seattle Seahawks released CB Terrell Thomas Sunday, Aug. 24, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Tyrell JohnsonAug 24 08:22p

The Atlanta Falcons released SS Tyrell Johnson Sunday, Aug. 24.

Jordan SennAug 24 07:22p

The Chicago Bears released LB Jordan Senn.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group