Suddenly, Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian has plenty of opinions to smirk at. Pundits have already determined that the demise of the five-time division winner has arrived.
The overhaul of the Colts' coaching staff has resulted in plenty of poor projections and pitiful power rankings from the national media, and NFL Total Access' Ron Woodson has prophesized that Indianapolis will miss the playoffs.
However, Bill Polian has publicly stated that the organization was completely prepared for this year's transition, including the recent retirement of Howard Mudd and Tom Moore. Polian has also publicly stated that pundits' opinions are "meaningless."
In much the same manner as they groomed a successor for Tony Dungy, the organization has been preparing pupils to replace offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd.
Although the Colts only learned of the impending retirement in February, the Colts have had Clyde Christensen and Pete Metzelaars waiting in the wings for some time, simply for the reason that their predecessors are at an age that generally predicates retirement.
No one in the organization will hesitate to laud Howard Mudd as a spectacular instructor, but Pete Metzelaars has worked closely with Mudd since he joined the team in 2004. He knows the system and the techniques as well as anyone on the staff, and even has experience at the reigns—he was in charge of the line last season while Howard Mudd had back surgery.
The offensive line also benefits from having a coach on the field with a rocket arm and a quick release. I expect the Colts offense to improve due to the addition of first round pick Donald Brown to the beleaguered running game, rather than worsen due to the loss of a sideline voice.
Clyde Christensen isn't going to change the historically successful offensive system installed by Tom Moore, and he doesn't have to teach it to a rookie quarterback. Some youth at the play-calling might actually improve the Colts' attack.
Although none dare to criticize Moore's system, I have often questioned his play-calling. His lack of creativity often allows defenses to tee-off at predictable first down stretch plays, despite Peyton Manning's attempts to disguise the play.
A fresh philosophy might yield a more aggressive approach that would only benefit such an explosive offensive system with such incredible talent.
The offense has never been the weak link for the Indianapolis Colts in recent years anyway, and the defense finally has some 300-pound-plus defensive tackles to play with.
Until Peyton Manning retires, the offense is in good hands no matter the coaching staff. If the defense improves under new Defensive Coordinator Larry Coyer, another playoff birth could be in the Colts' future despite what the pundits say.