Yes, I know I've already covered the Rob Chudzinski story, and you all know my feelings on it. However, when Indianapolis Star writer Mike Chappell - a man who has covered the Indianapolis Colts for nearly four decades - chimes in on the Colts hiring the one-time coach of the Browns as a "Special Assistant to the Head Coach," I consider that worthy of a Stampede Blue article.
As a guest on 1070 The Fan's "Ride with JMV" show this week, Chappell was asked if Chuck Pagano's hiring of his old University of Miami buddy (Chudzinski) might be hurt the team and the coaching staff because it adds yet another voice in an already crowded meeting room.
"That's one of the things I want to ask the Colts next week when we have access to them. What's his role, and how will the communication go? I've got to believe that [quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen] had great input and, with Pep, you just have to wonder if they are too many voices. But, we don't know. We don't know what [Chudzinski's] role is going to be. The "Special Assistant" is sort of a vague term about what his role is going to be."
This "too many voices" sentiment was also expressed by former Colts head coach Rick Venturi, who now works as a media analyst. "Offense by committee" was another issue Venturi had.
Chap then said something that gets right to the heart of my concerns about Pagano hiring Chudzinski:
"I only hope that Pep Hamilton was totally on board with this. We just don't know that. I hope he was. If not, you've just got to wonder what the chemistry in that meeting room is going to be when, all of a sudden, you've got another voice."
Since we haven't heard anything from Hamilton, nor was he mentioned at all in the Colts' press release announcing the move, it makes me, Chappell, and others wonder if he was ever consulted by Pagano prior to the hire. If Hamilton wasn't consulted, then, yes, hiring Chudzinski looks like a power play. It looks like Pagano muscling out a coach his quarterback, Andrew Luck, has a relationship with and forcing in a coach Pagano himself is comfortable with.
Just so all of you can understand where I come from when I write articles that question certain hires, or I comment on reasons why specific moves are made, it's because when something looks like it could be a potential issue, I flag it so that it can spur debate and discussion here on the site. For those of you thinking I do this solely to "starts trouble" or "make a non-story a story," you're giving me too much credit. The very questions I have asked about this move were asked by pretty much everyone else who covers the Colts.
The only difference is I wrote them down and published them while Chappell articulated them on the radio.
"On the surface there is certainly reason to question how this is going to play out."
What I'm fairly certain of now is that Chudzinski is not an insurance policy for Hamilton bolting for another job in 2015. Nor is he, as some of you have suggested, a back-up head coach should Pagano's cancer resurface and force him to miss time. This move was made because Pagano wanted a coach he trusts working with his offense.
By the very nature of how that last sentence reads, it implies that Pagano does not fully trust the man he has currently coaching his offense.
All of these dynamics are interesting because of the various people involved. Pep Hamilton was hired because of Andrew Luck and the work they did together at Stanford. I'm willing to bet Luck won't be happy with any move that could, potentially, push out his coordinator, especially after Hamilton just finished his first year on the job.
When all is said and done, Luck's happiness and comfort level are more important than anything for the Colts. He is their franchise. If Chudzinski's addition to the staff rubs Luck the wrong way, then Pagano will be in very hot water.
As Chap said on the radio this week:
Certainly, it's fair to question how this impacts the dynamics that were in place.
The Chudzinski move is more that just adding another coach, and how it will play out should prove interesting.