In 2012, Pagano's first year as the franchise's head coach, Indianapolis fumbled 21 times and lost nine of them. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck also threw 18 interceptions. The Colts were also penalized 94 times (an average of 5.5 per game) for 801 yards.
Heading into the offseason, playing smarter penalty-wise and doing a better job of protecting the football was a major point of emphasis for the Indianapolis coaching staff.
Luck admitted that all the work done last spring during organized team activity practices and during training camp is now paying huge dividends.
"[We're] taking care of the football. I think we're plus in the turnover-margin [plus-6] as a whole, which Coach Pagano preached about in the offseason. I think we're doing a decent job at it," the Colts quarterback said late last week. "But we can still improve a lot."
The Colts head coach is a stickler for the details. He doesn't let the little things slide by despite the time demands of practice and game preparation.
“We made a huge emphasis in training camp. We have officials, as you know, every day in practice, except Friday. We had them all through training camp, as you know. We show them a tape, I’ll show them a tape every week. The points of emphasis, the penalties that were called the previous week, we get a cut-up from the league every week, so I’ll go through that and I’ll pick out the ones that they need to see," Pagano explained.
"We’re always educating our guys on what the points of emphasis are, what they’re looking at, what they’re calling. So we’re constantly not only fundamentals, techniques and playing great situational football and giving them great examples from other games around the league week-in and week-out, but we make an emphasis to make sure that they know the game from a rules standpoint also.”