The relationship goes both ways, coaches getting to know players and players getting to know coaches.
That has been the theme of the offseason for the Indianapolis Colts as virtually a new coaching staff has been paired with a ton of new faces in the locker room.
Over the course of the offseason, the Colts brought in three former Baltimore Ravens who are some of the few Colts players that had previous ties to head coach Chuck Pagano.
Safety Tom Zbikowski had Pagano as a position coach from 2008-2010, and a defensive coordinator in 2011.
He says although Pagano is in a different role this season and has more to deal with, he still sees the same guy.
“He’s still just as personable as he was as a defensive backs coach, as a defensive coordinator. He’s a players’ coach.” Zbikowski said.
“It’s still going to be intense. It’s all about fundamentals, sound football, and playing hard. It’s personal to him and that’s the way it should be.”
Building off that ‘players’ coach’ mentality, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at the top or bottom of the depth chart, Pagano is determined to get to know each and every one of his players.
“(Coach) really gets to know all of his players,” Zbikowski said of Pagano. “From the guys that came from other teams, that was one thing that was brought up on that (other players) might not have had conversations with their other head coach.”
Former Ravens Brandon McKinney and Cory Redding have joined Zbikowski as new Colts.
For the 10-year veteran in Redding, taking a role as a leader in helping his new teammates get to know their new coach is nothing new to him.
Redding spent last season playing under Pagano’s defense and hasn’t seen a bit of change from his new head coach.
“Same guy, same mentality. The approach he’s having with us as a head coach is the exact same approach he took the year he was a defensive coordinator with the Ravens. Straight up, tell it like it is,” Redding said.
The three new defenders are helping their teammates learn a new hybrid 3-4 system that at times might seem a bit foreign.
Helping their new teammates with the X’s and O’s part of the scheme is one thing, but Redding wants to make it clear he is here for all teammates in helping to them get to know their coach on a personal level.
“The guys can react in a certain way, but to have all three voices in the locker room to let the guys know why Chuck said what he said, why Chuck is doing some of the things that he’s doing that kind of eases the guys’ minds,” Redding said.
“Then they’re like ‘OK, we’ll trust the system, we’ll trust you guys, because you have been there, you understand and you all know him, so we’re going to go ahead and trust him.’ And that’s a credit to the guys in the locker room who have been there before us. They’re willing to accept change. Change is great and this one will be great. So as long as everybody gets on board it will be fine.”
Tags: brandon mckinney, chuck pagano, cory redding, tom zbikowski
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