The Indianapolis Colts are making some changes to the coaching staff for next season, firing defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after four seasons.
The Colts are coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued 8-8 season, leading to speculation about the futures of head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson with the organization.
However, Kevin Bowen of the Colts' official website reported the team announced it had reached separate contract extensions with Pagano and Grigson—four years and three years, respectively. The staff came together during the 2012 season, leading Indianapolis to three straight playoff appearances prior to this season.
Even though injuries, notably to franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, gave the Colts a valid excuse for missing the playoffs this year, their defense went from 11th in yards allowed last year to 26th in 2015.
Indianapolis retained its head coach and general manager, meaning Manusky is taking the big hit. Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue thinks the 49-year-old is getting a raw deal in this case:
I don't think the failures in Indy were Greg Manusky's fault. Not at all. But he seems to be the scapegoat.— Josh Wilson (@JoshWilsonSB) January 5, 2016
Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star also deflected some blame off Manusky for the Colts' defensive shortcomings, noting he was "running Pagano's scheme" and it was "very much a group effort."
Sometimes, though, the NFL is a harsh business. The Colts have been a team built around a young quarterback and skill-position players on offense, so when Luck went down, it shined a light on all the deficiencies with the roster.
It also didn't help matters that the Indianapolis offense finished last in the NFL with 4.9 yards per play, per TeamRankings.com, putting more pressure on the defense to be precise every single drive.
Manusky has been with an NFL team every year since 2001, serving as a defensive coordinator in each of his last three stops, so the veteran coach should have no problem finding another job when he wants one.
The Colts need to conduct a wide search for their next defensive coordinator because 2016 is an important season for the franchise. Grigson has spent a lot of draft picks and money on wide receivers, running backs and cornerbacks, but he needs to start building the interiors for this franchise if it wants to be a dominant force in the AFC.
Stats per ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.