(Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Get
Remember when the Indianapolis Colts were the laughing stock of NFL defenses? What ever happened to that?
The former Arkansas State Red Wolf, who had made nine coaching stops in 18 years prior to settling down in Indianapolis in 2002, didn't overshadow Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison while transforming the defense in Indy. But then again, who could?
All he did was take a bottom-feeding NFL defense and transform them overnight. Gone were the days of the matador defense in Indy.
In his first year controlling the D, Meeks took a squad that finished 29th and 31st in the league in total defense and scoring defense, respectively, and take them into the top 10 in both categories.
And his next six seasons more than lived up to the precedent he set in '02.
Aside from leading the league in points allowed in 2007 (247) and helping the team record an NFL-best plus-19 turnover margin in 2005, Meeks' units have consistently been in the top 10 of most statistical categories.
And oh yeah, the Colts won Super Bowl XLI in 2007.
Meeks takes the reigns of a Panthers defense that in 2008 finished 12th in the NFL with 20.6 points allowed per game, quite a different scenario from the one he inherited in Indianapolis. If his track record putting together top-flight defenses is any indication, that number will only go down in 2009.
Some of Meeks' assistants—more specifically, a pair of his assistants, secondary coach Mike Gillhammer and quality control coach Sam Mills III—have been with Carolina for a quite a while. Gillhammer is entering his sixth season in Charlotte, Mills his fifth.
But others—four others—are Queen City rookies, as well, beginning with...