Chuck Pagano believes his experience of being a defensive coach with the Ravens gives his Indianapolis Colts an edge going into Sunday’s wild-card playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium.
Legendary coach John Madden happens to agree with him because knowing a team inside-out matters. Pagano will sit in meetings with the Colts’ offense to tip them off on what to expect.
He was defensive coordinator last season when the Ravens went 12-4 and advanced to the AFC title game.
“That’s a big thing. You can watch film, you can break down, you can make cut-ups and you can do computer studies and all this stuff on a team. You can know an awful lot about them. But you don’t know what they’ve been taught,” Madden told Sirius NFL Radio. “You don’t know what they’ve been told.
“Now, if you’ve been there on that staff you not only know what they’re doing but what they’ve been told to do and how they’re being taught to do it. That is the advantage.”
The Ravens ended the regular season by losing four of their last five games. Quarterback Joe Flacco took a lion’s share of the blame for it, turning over the ball six times when they’d lost three in a row.
“I think Joe Flacco is going to play pretty well. … Maybe he’s a lot inconsistent but he’s probably … a little over-criticized,” Madden said. “He’s probably a lot better quarterback than people think he is.”
Madden doesn’t subscribe to the Ravens’ claim that they haven’t lost confidence. When a team falls apart they way they did after starting 9-2, self-doubt is inevitable. They were blown out by two of the AFC’s best teams in the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
“When you win you gain confidence, and when you lose you lose confidence. I don’t care what anyone says. They can say ‘Well, we lost but we’re still really confident.’ No you’re not because the last time you were there it’s like a fighter that got knocked out,” Madden said. “He doesn’t know that he won’t get knocked out again. When you lost your last one you wonder, ‘Can we really do this?’”