I like Coach Caldwell. Type in "Coach Caldwell nice guy" on Google and you will find dozens of links with analysts, media and fans alike all acknowledging that Caldwell is a friendly and upstanding individual.
He just seems so over his head. The ability to provide a steady calming influence and also keep your team playing hard is an extremely underrated and valuable talent. When you have a good team, even a mediocre team, having such an impact is critical to overcoming adversity, similar to the trying times the Colts faced last year. But, for a team in a slump - or worse, one that lacks talent - the coach must be able to make critical and tough changes, inspire the team and set a new course.
So far Caldwell hasn't be able to do that. Painter's quarterback rating has slid every game - except for a slight bounce back after the Saints game - for the past five games. The defense ranks 31st in yards per game and is the only unit to allow more than 400 yards in a game five times. Those kinds of numbers show that a coach is either struggling to get through to his players, doesn't have the talent or can't coach. For the Colts it's a combination of one and two more than three. Regardless, the whole worth and value of a coach is to get more out of his players regardless of the present talent. At 0-10 it's clear that the coaching strategies aren't working. Staying the course and remaining low key no longer has the same impact and is no longer the right strategy.
It's time for more imagination, more cajones and passion (see both Harbaughs) and the willingness to buck convention and think outside the box! If Caldwell isn't willing or able to make the necessary changes, Jim Irsay should at season's end.
* In addition to the 'poke Caldwell campaign' the Fire Larry Coyer campaign is also off-and-running. Simply put giving up 62 points and being the worst defense in football while being far from the worse talent wise, is unacceptable. So much for the 'new wrinkles.' The Coyer experiment in Indy hasn't worked.
Supporters call him stoic. Some say he's emotionless (borderline permanently grumpy) while others wonder if there's blood flowing through his veins. Whether you like Caldwell as coach or think he's over-his-head, it's indisputable that his blank, dead-pan stare is kind of creepy and a bit unnerving.
I mean come on, Coach! Show some emotion. When we score, celebrate. You don't have to chest-bump or run around like an idiot - both this guy and this guy come to mind - but give us something. A smile, an approving nod, a clinched fist. Anything to let us fans know you've still got a pulse.
We like that you are professional. That's great. We aren't asking you to go wild or be obnoxious nor do we want you to take on a shady nefarious persona either (please don't ever wear a hood).
All we want is to see a little joy, frustration, excitement. We want to see you've got passion.
Now, many - especially on the blog - feel that Coach Caldwell might not have this needed passion. In years past with Peyton running the show that was fine. With a top-tier team, major overhauls and changes weren't needed. Impassioned speeches, bludgeoned cliches and outlandish and gimmicky motivational tools had no place in the Colts organization. Stability and consistency were key. Both which Caldwell was very capable of providing.
But, unfortunately with the ship and season sinking fast and no Manning at the helm, there now might be a cause for substantial modifications and bold decisions need to be made. More importantly, a fire needs to be lit and a new uplifting energy be brought into the locker room, which is why I am launching the 'poke Caldwell' campaign.
Everyone, including Coach Caldwell, has a breaking point and it is our mission to find it. Whether it's on Facebook (unfortunately you can't poke on fan pages and I don't know his real account), at the grocery store or at a press conference, give Caldwell a friendly (but firm) poke to the ribs and see what happens.
Let's see that stoicism put to the test and unleash his inner beast.
He might not react on the first poke or even the 10,000th but at some point, somewhere down the road he will break and when he does, that fan will have released a wild and frenzied beast so intense and animated that he might just show us a fist pump.
If not, at least he will know he's officially on the hot seat. Hopefully though it doesn't push him too far.
Sorry Coach Caldwell. I hope I don't cause you too much discomfort...then again, maybe I do.