The Most Change For The Colts In Nearly Ten Years

This comment from Matt Grecco pretty much sums up my personal feelings on Chris Polian taking charge of the Indianapolis Colts:

I’m encouraged that Chris sees problems and is addressing them appropriately. Even for a team as successful as the Colts have been, there is no reason to stay complacent. Win back-to-back Super Bowls, then you can think that way.

I'm curious to know how many of you feel.

The Colts have won a gaggle of games from 2002-2010. However, during that stretch, they've won just one Super Bowl, and played in two. The teams the Colts are often compared to are the Patriots (four Super Bowl appearances, three wins) and the Steelers (three Super Bowl appearances, two wins). These teams can afford to be complacent. They've won multiple Super Bowls.

Indianapolis cannot.

As I said last year, it's Super Bowl or bust now for the Colts going forward as long as Peyton Manning is the QB. It's all about winning a championship, and anything less is failure. That is the attitude this franchise must adopt, or the team will have just one championship despite years of regular season dominance, and that will be seen as failure in the eyes of all objective observers.

Thus, the recent moves to 'clean house' are encouraging. However, make no mistake about it, these moves are earth-shaking at West 56th Street, especially when you consider just how stable things have been for the Colts the last ten years.

Mind you, dumping Gene Huey and Tom Moore is not my idea of effectively cleaning house. That's cutting off one's nose to spite their face, especially considering their replacements (David Walker and Clyde Christensen, respectively) are inferior coaches by comparison.

And yes, before people freak out by me saying that, the statement is true. I know Walker hasn't had a season to prove himself, but when a proven legend (Huey) is replaced by a no-name college assistant (Walker), it's pretty clear who the better coach is.

But, unlike the shifts on the personnel side, the coaching moves are likely the work of Caldwell, not Chris Polian. Caldwell has clammed up around the press this off-season after two years of being rather chummy with them. That this shift in Caldwell's demeanor has happened at the same time Chris Polian has taken over has me thinking Caldwell is feeling the heat. This explains the odd shifting of Frank Reich (a former QB and seasoned QB coach) to wide receivers coach and Ron Turner (a onetime offensive coordinator with a history of coaching receivers) to QB coach.

From my observations, unlike Tony Dungy, Caldwell is much less loyal to his assistants, and is willing to toss them aside to save his own hide. Just ask Gene Huey. Howard Mudd might have some insight on this too. He 'retired' after just one season working under Caldwell, and has since un-retired to work for Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Tom Moore told me in 2010:

'There's so much in life that the last thing I want to do is just sit and not do anything. This [coaching football] is fun.'

One year later, he 'retires.'

Also, despite retiring from the Colts (under rather odd circumstances), Moore has taken a job consulting for the New York Jets.

What's that tell you?

If you are Peyton Manning (a man who detests change) and are thinking of re-signing with the Colts after the lockout ends, you'd be coming back to a team nearly turned upside down by change. They runningbacks coach is replaced. There's a new QB coach, and your longtime mentor and friend (Tom Moore) isn't around anymore to help you. This is to say nothing of the shift from o-line coach Howard Mudd to Pete Metzelaars, which didn't exactly have great results last year.

The Colts haven't seen this much turnover in the front office and the coaching ranks since 2001, when Jim Mora and the entire defensive staff was fired after a 6-10 season.

From 2002-2008, virtually nothing changed in the front office and in the coaching ranks. However, since taking over for Dungy in 2009, Caldwell has changed the offensive coordinator, the o-line coach, the QB coach (twice), the wide receivers coach (twice), the defensive coordinator, and the special teams coach.

That is a massive amount of change over a two year period.

Again, I said this in a previous article, Caldwell needs to get this team back to a Super Bowl this season, or his job is in jeopardy. I personally think he'd have been fired if Indy did not make the post-season last year. He knows this too, which is why he isn't all smiles and handshakes with the media anymore. He knows his legacy is tied to Week Sixteen in 2009 more than any wins division titles he's won. He knows it's win or bust.

Thus, all the change.

I personally don't think all this change is bad. What I find astounding is just how mute local and national media is to it. Sure, they are reporting it, but when you step back and look at just how different things are at West 56th Street, it's like going to school and suddenly realizing all your professors were replaced mid-semester. Sure, the building is the same, as are the students, books, and curriculum. It's the people 'teaching' it that are new, and less accomplished than the old ones

It shall be interesting to watch and see if this change brings about a championship. If it doesn't, expect more change.

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