The changes in the Colts coaching staff has been the biggest shake-up and attention grabber this off-season. Peyton Manning has already started to grumble and a successful transition could be the key it the Colts are going to win another Super Bowl.
Here is a quick guide to the new coaching changes.
The Departed: Tony Dungy
A sure Hall of Famer, first black head coach to win a Super Bowl and all around good guy. Dungy built the Colts into a consistent winner and eventual Super Bowl champion. You would be hard pressed to find anything wrong with the guy--he was well respected by coaches, player and fans.
The Anointed: Jim Caldwell
Caldwell enters his eight season with the Colts. He was promoted to assistant head coach and hand picked successor to Tony Dungy in 2008. Joined the team as quarterbacks coach after holding the same position in Tampa Bay.
Has prior head coaching experience at the collegiate level with Wake Forest from 1993-2000. Caldwell started four years at defensive back for Iowa during his college career.
Caldwell will have the enormous task of keeping a championship caliber team in top shape. His leadership is critical and has already been tested early. Caldwell filled in at head coach for Tony Dungy in 2005 and is very familiar with the team so there shouldn’t be much difficulty in the transition.
It will be interesting to see how he handles things during now that Peyton Manning has complained in the media.
The Departed: Tom Moore
Moore spent 32 years in the NFL and 12 with the Colts. Moore owns three Super Bowl rings, one with the Colts and two with the Steelers. He is the only offensive coordinator Peyton Manning has ever known. Moore may stay on team as a consultant.
The Anointed: Clyde Christenson
Christenson enters his eight season with the Colts, he joined the organization from Tampa Bay along with Jim Caldwell. Christenson was offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay in 2001. He has worked with Manning extensively so they should be familiar with each other.
Offensive line coach
The Departed: Howard Mudd
Mudd also has been with the team for 12 seasons and Peyton Manning’s entire career. He is widely considered a genius for his ability to mold raw talent and shuffle players along the line.
Mudd has been described recently in the media as a “cantankerous old codger” and “as friendly as a howitzer.” Mudd also may stay on the team as a consultant.
The Anointed: Pete Metzelaars
Metzelaars started with the Colts as a coaching intern in 2003 and was soon named offensive quality control coach.
In 2008 he was named assistant offensive line coach. He has plenty of experience with the offense and Mudd’s system but Colts fans have to be concerned about his lack of coaching experience. The O-line could be the key to the offense and the entire season.
The Departed: Ron Meeks
Meeks was hand picked by Tony Dungy during his first season in 2002. Meeks was mostly successful but the organization and Jim Caldwell decided to go in a different direction and allowed him to resign. They started by drafting bigger D-linemen, both picks in this years draft are over 300 lbs.
The Anointed: Larry Coyer
Coyer comes to the Colts with 45 years of combined collegiate and NFL coaching experience. He is known most for his stint at Denver as defensive coordinator from 2003-2006.
Coyer had some of the best statistical defensive units in the league during that time frame. The Broncos featured a stellar run defense and ran the “show blitz” style of defense where linebackers and DBs used tons of movement to confuse the passing attack.
Even though Coyer's defensive units ranked in the top statistically, the Broncos were often bounced from the playoffs early. The Colts scored 90 points in two playoff games against Coyer’s unit.
The Colts are gambling that hiring most of the new coaches from inside the organization will not disturb a team that has been assembled to win a second championship. Long term coaching problems could derail the entire season and could be especially harmful to the offense.
Unfortunately there have been signs that all is not right for the Colts. Recent news stories are surfacing that Peyton Manning has already complained and shot his mouth off about the new coaching staff. He was quoted in the Indy Star as saying among other things, “There is not a lot of coaching going on here.”
This is probably nothing to worry about for Colts fans but if it escalates, the offense and the team could be in real trouble. It will interesting to see how new head coach Jim Caldwell handles the situation.
This is the first crisis during the Caldwell era and he will need to take charge and keep everyone happy at the same time if he wants to wear another Super Bowl ring.
Certain facts and tidbits for this article have been gleaned from Colts.com and Indystar.com.
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