clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colts Coaching Hires: Bruce Arians Officially Hired, Clyde Christensen Retained

While the entire city of Indianapolis is winning over skeptics who doubted the town could effectively host a Super Bowl (eat it Adrian Wojnarowski), the Colts made a curious collection of coaching hires and terminations.

The first move was the official hiring of Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator. Arians was seemingly not liked by the Rooney Family in Pittsburgh, and against the wishes of their star quarterback, they fired allowed Arians to "retire." The retirement stuff was, of course, a load of bull. For me, it seemed as though Arians didn't want to go out into a coaching market where there were limited options. Thus, "retirement." Then, the Colts job opened up. Arians has stated previously that one of the best jobs he ever had in the NFL was QB coach for the Colts from 1998-2000. He loves the organization, the owner, and the city of Indianapolis. Seems like a natural fit.

The odd part of hiring Arians is that the Colts hadn't yet fired last year's offensive coordinator, Clyde Christensen. So, when the news broke that the Colts had offered Arians the job, many of us wondered, "What's Clyde's status?" He hadn't been fired, and accepting a demotion to a position coach is incredibly demeaning. Yes, it is. Don't fool or kid yourself. Last year he was in charge of the offense, and he apparently did not do a very effective job. If he had, he'd still be running the offense. Rather than fire Christensen and let him rebuild his resume somewhere else, the Colts have opted to retain him as the quarterbacks coach.

From 2002-2009, Christensen was the wide receiver coach in Indianapolis.

Fair or unfair, this does not speak well for Christensen. Did no one else want to hire him as a coordinator or position coach? Not even the college ranks wanted to touch him? What's interesting here is that at least one team, the Bears, was sniffing around Christensen to gauge his interest in being their QB coach. Despite this interest, he is staying in Indianapolis, accepting the demotion along with the likelihood that no NFL team will ever offer him a coordinator job again.

Christensen was fired as OC in Tampa Bay in 2001 for running a piss poor offense, and he has now been stripped of coordinator duties yet again in Indianapolis.

It will be interesting to see if Christensen's presence makes things awkward for Arians. Some legacy players might still be loyal to Christensen. Will those players buy into Arians' philosophy?

I ask these sorts of questions not because I have anything against Christensen personally, though I'm sure more than a few idiots out there will think I am TEH HATERZ towards him. I'm met and interviewed him before, and he comes across as a friendly and personable man. At the Super Bowl two years ago, he saw me waiting to talk to him at a media roundtable. However, the session ended before I could ask any questions, and the Super Bowl 'handlers' were pushing us all out the door. Clyde came up to me and said, 'Did you still want to talk? We can chat outside.' We walked outside near the beach and chatted for 20 minutes about wide receiver routes, coaching under Tony Dungy, and offense in general. Nice guy.

Personally, I think it would have been smarter for his career to leave Indy. The hiring of Arians was, on some level, an indictment of Christensen as a coordinator. By agreeing to work for Arians, Christensen is admitting Arians is more qualified for the job of OC in Indy. If I were Christensen, I'd find that beneath me, and I'd move on to a place that acknowledges my skills as a coach. Taking the demotion only acknowledges that you lack the skills to effectively coordinate an offense.

Also, the Colts have hired Harold Goodwin to be the team's new offensive line coach. Goodwin, like Arians, spent five years as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh.

The Colts terminated the contracts of longtime tight ends coach Ricky Thomas and assistant offensive line coach Ron Prince.