Meet the new coach: Jim Caldwell
If introductions to the media and fans counted as victories, then new Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell just won the Super Bowl. In an impressive, well presented speech to the media and fans today at Indy's West 56th Street complex, Jim Caldwell removed the "Associate" from his job title, signed a new four year contract, and stood before everyone as the head coach. He is replacing a legend, a man more respected than any other coach in the NFL. Yet, if you watch Caldwell's introduction and listen to how this man speaks and carries himself, you see that this son of a nurse and a General Motors employee commands respect. He also seems to have a clear vision for where he wants to take this team.
In short, he looks and acts an awful lot like Tony Dungy, but not as meek or seemingly soft-spoken.
Like so many others, even we Colts fans don't really know Jim Caldwell. What we knew before today is he has been Peyton Manning's quarterback coach for eight years. In that time, Peyton Manning has won 3 league MVPs, a Super Bowl MVP, and gone to numerous Pro Bowls. Manning's interceptions dropped dramatically under Caldwell's tutoring, and his completion percentage has consistently hovered in the high 60% range. Peyton and Jim also have a very strong working relationship, and if you listened to Colts WR coach Clyde Christensen on 1070 the Fan yesterday you know the assistant coaches have a great deal of respect for Caldwell.
Peyton and Jim examine Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008
Obviously, Jim Caldwell will be judged by how many victories he coaches the Colts to. But, if first impressions mean anything, his first press conference was a 99 yard TD. He strikes me as a deeply thoughtful, intelligent man who knows fully what he has inherited. Over the next few weeks, we will see what kinds of changes he will make to the coaching staff. If Bill Polian is any indicator (hint, hint- he's the friggin' Team President, so yes he is) then Caldwell is planning to make changes to the coaching staff. It will also be interesting to see how the defense reacts to him, as they all had such a close bound to Dungy (Bob Sanders, especially).
All in all, he looks the part. Now we will see if he can act it.