Thanks to the NFL Combine this week, we are hearing from a lot of people throughout the NFL in every organization, and that's no different with the Colts. On Friday afternoon, general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano both met with the media in Indianapolis, and while neither of them said much of any importance (nobody did), they did offer some insight as to what Rob Chudzinski's role with the Colts will be.
Chudzinski, the former Browns head coach, was recently hired by the Colts as a special assistant to head coach Chuck Pagano. At the time I really liked the move, but Brad Wells brought up some very legitimate concerns. Former Colts head coach Rick Venturi and longtime Indianapolis Star beat writer Mike Chappell both had some questions as well. And if I'm being honest, those concerns are very valid: what does this move mean for Pep Hamilton? Because Chudzinski is still being paid by the Browns he can't have an official coaching staff position with another team yet, but this title that he has with the Colts means he will still get paid by the Browns, too. Some have wondered whether Chudzinski would be a co-offensive coordinator with Pep Hamilton, and if that is the case you can clearly see how that might bring about problems.
Because we haven't really gotten much information on what Chudzinski's role with the Colts will be, it has allowed speculation to run rampant. Yesterday at the Combine, we got some insight from Grigson and Pagano. This is what Ryan Grigson had to say about Chudzinski's role:
"He is the special assistant to the head coach and that's his title. I'll say this, first and foremost Chud has a longstanding relationship with our head coach that goes a long ways back to college when Chuck (Pagano) was a graduate assistant, Chud was a player, I think a freshman. This business is about relationships, it's about trust. He's part of our family now. He's a resource. First and foremost, Chud is a resource. His role will continue to evolve. He's a great football mind to bounce things off of. He's going to do evaluations. He's going to help in all three phases. Special teams, defense, offense, player evaluation, game day, all those types of things to help our head coach and help our team and help us get better. I think it's a great pick up."
Chuck Pagano also talked about the addition of Chudzinski - a longtime friend - to his staff:
"Rob and I had a longstanding professional and personal relationship. Goes all the way back to 1986. I was a graduate assistant. It was my third year in coaching at the University of Miami as a grad assistant for Jimmy Johnson on that staff. Rob was a freshman tight end. It just so happened Alfredo Roberts, our tight ends coach, was a tight end on that same team. He's a much different guy today than he was then. I've known Chud for a long, long time. It's a great opportunity. It's a great hire for us. Chud's going to be a great resource. His title is special assistant to the head coach. He'll be heavily involved with a lot of things that I do on a daily basis and be a great resource for me. He's going to be a great resource for our entire coaching staff, not only our offensive staff, our defensive staff, special teams, game day management. He's a brilliant guy, a really bright guy, a really smart guy, a really good football coach and he's well versed in a lot of different areas. Kind of end all of the speculation of what he's going to be doing? Why is he here? We had an opportunity to add another piece to the puzzle which makes our team better, gets us one step closer to our ultimate goal, and that's hoisting a Lombardi and hopefully participating in Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix."
Both Grigson and Pagano said that Chudzinski a "resource." Basically, according to what the two said at the Combine, Rob Chudzinski's first priority will be helping Chuck Pagano in his duties and will also be helping in all three phases of the games and helping to evaluate talent. Neither one of them mentioned Chudzinski working specifically with the offense or with Pep Hamilton but rather that Chud will be working in all three areas of the game - offense, defense, and special teams.
If what Grigson and Pagano said about Chudzinski's role is true, then there's not much reason to worry for Colts fans as to how this move will work out. When they first made the move I thought it was primarily made to help Pagano, and that sounds like what it is. Granted, we always have to take into consideration that there are probably things that they don't want to tell us, but for the most part I don't think what they said is inaccurate. Shortly after the season I advocated that Pagano should bring in someone as an assistant to help him, and it seems that he has done that. We won't know for sure until we actually see it in action, but based on what Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano were saying in Indianapolis Friday, I think the hire of Rob Chudzinski can work very well for the Colts.