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BREAKING: Colts Fire Larry Coyer, Promote Mike Murphy Defensive Coordinator

According to Pro Football Talk twitter handle, the Colts have fired defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and promoted linebackers coach Mike Murphy as the new DC.

The news was made official on the Colts website as well.

Coyer has been the defensive coordinator since 2009, which was also the year head coach Jim Caldwell was promoted after Tony Dungy retired. Coyer and Caldwell are linked since Caldwell's playing days at Iowa. Coyer was his defensive coordinator back in the 1970s, and it was Coyer who was handpicked by Caldwell to replace Ron Meeks, who worked as the Colts DC from 2002-2008.

The firing of Coyer in this way suggests that Caldwell is no longer fully in control of who coaches on his staff. On his radio show last night, team vice chairman Bill Polian was very critical of the Colts defensive effort, repeatedly stressing a need to reevaluate things.

At his press conference yesterday, Jim Caldwell gave no hint or indication that Coyer would be dismissed.

Coyer has been coaching football since 1965, including a stint as defensive coordinator in Denver from 2000-2006.

Linebackers coach Mike Murphy has been with the club since 1998 when he was brought onboard by then-coach Jim Mora, Sr. Ironically, Mora Sr. was fired in 2001 after he refused to dump his then-defensive coordinator (Vic Fangio) at the request of Bill Polian.

We'll have more on this story has it develops. Clearly, Bill Polian and his son, Colts general manager Chris Polian, are making Coyer the scapegoat for the poor performance of the defense which, when viewed objectively, is more a result of a lack of talent than coaching. As PFT notes:

It’s not at all surprising that heads would roll in Indianapolis, considering that the Colts are by far the worst team in the league. But the timing of the move is strange, as is the decision to single out Coyer when everyone in Indianapolis should be on the hottest of hot seats after this debacle of a season.

Coyer is the first to go, but it seems safe to say he’ll be far from the only one who loses his job with the Colts in the weeks ahead.