The news that the Colts decided to part ways with Jim Caldwell took everyone, EVERYONE, by surprise. It didn't matter if it was Indianapolis Star beat writer Mike Chappell, radio personality Jake Query, or a dirty little blogger like me. All of us were talking to different people, and all those people told us that Caldwell would be back.
Despite the events that transpired today, it looks as if those sources were, indeed, correct. Well, at least the people we talked to were right, anyway.
We reported earlier today that sources told us the Colts had interviewed Steve Spagnuolo for the vacant defensive coordinator position. Actually, we were the first to report it (yay us!), scooping Jay Glazer and Adam Schefter. Neither one of those guys gave us credit when they reported on the Spagnuolo story. Whatever. I don't expect courtesies from FOX Sports and ESPN.
Those reports also corroborated the info our sources told us: Spagnuolo was interviewed, and Caldwell was part of that interview process. The intent was to keep Caldwell was the head coach, and today's press conference was to announce that news along with the hiring of Spagnuolo.
However, what our sources didn't know was that Spagnuolo turned the Colts down. We don't know the reasons why, but he does have an interview scheduled with the for their vacant defensive coordinator position. The Saints are a top tier team. The Colts aren't. Gonna guess that the New Orleans seems more appealing to Spags because, you know, it is. tomorrow
Once Spags said no, it appears as if Ryan Grigson felt it was moot to keep Caldwell.
In many ways, this makes the Colts organization look dysfunctional and somewhat leaderless. If Grigson had doubts about Caldwell, Caldwell should have been fired without hesitation. Bringing on Spagnuolo to run the defense doesn't change all the well-documented deficiencies Caldwell had as a head coach. As a G.M., you either believe in your head coach, or you don't. Grigson apparently didn't, but was willing to give Caldwell a chance as long as Spagnuolo came on board.
Perhaps Grigson saw Spags as a potential replacement head coach next year should Caldwell falter.
Regardless, the news that Caldwell was part of the Spagnuolo interview suggests the Colts planned to retain him, but when Spags unexpectedly said no, Caldwell got the ax.
In any case, for me personally, I kind of got to have my cake and eat it too. Our sources were correct, but they didn't know about Spagnuolo's decision. Therefore, what I REALLY wanted (Caldwell fired) was what I got. I also want to make to clear to everyone that my desire for his firing was not personal. Caldwell seems like a good man who had to work for a crappy boss (Bill Polian). Caldwell deserves a ton of credit for keeping the team playing hard during a 2-14 season.
But, at the end of the day, coaches are judged by results. In Caldwell's case, he just wasn't very good and doing the things good head coaches are supposed to do.
Going forward, it really is a crap shoot to find out who Grigson is targeting to replace Caldwell. Imagine how people like Robert Mathis must feel. One second it looks like Caldwell is back with a guy like Spagnuolo running the defense. The next, nothing.
In the end, in order for a 'New Era' to begin, Caldwell had to go. Now the focus shifts to who will replace him, and what will happen to Peyton Manning now that his coach is out.