The Indianapolis Colts brought back head coach Chuck Pagano for the sake of continuity, but it appears as if the emphasis on continuity hasn't extended to the rest of the coaching staff. The Colts announced today the firing of six assistant coaches: defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, safeties coach Roy Anderson, secondary coach Mike Gillhamer, tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, running backs coach Charlie Williams, and head strength and conditioning coach Roger Marandino.
"We are grateful for the contributions these coaches have made to the Colts during their time here," Chuck Pagano said through a statement released by the team. "Obviously these days are never easy. We wish all of these men the best in their future endeavors."
If I had to guess, these moves were discussed on Monday during the meetings that took place between Jim Irsay, Ryan Grigson, and Chuck Pagano, as though it was decided to give Pagano a contract extension, it was clear that changes needed to happen. Therefore, this likely was an extension of that and is the Colts taking action to make changes despite stunningly not making the biggest change when it comes to the coaching staff. When it comes to coaching changes, the Colts have now fired their offensive coordinator (Pep Hamilton), defensive coordinator, safeties coach, secondary coach, tight ends coach, running backs coach, and head strength and conditioning coach since November. Though Pagano is sticking around, the Colts have made a number of changes to his staff recently.
Manusky's firing was reported yesterday, meaning that the defensive coordinator is out after four seasons in Indianpaolis. He came to Indy with Pagano in 2012 after serving as the defensive coordinator for the 49ers (2007-2010) and Chargers (2011). He had previously coached linebackers for a few different teams, the same position he played during an NFL career. His coaching really wasn't the problem in Indy, as he was working with a lack of talent and still did the best job that he could, but the defense needed to improve and so he was a clear scapegoat as the Colts try to go about that.
Anderson was hired as the team's safeties coach in 2012 after spending several seasons with the Baltimore Ravens in a number of roles, most recently as a defensive assistant/secondary coach (2010-2011). With Pagano being the defensive coordinator in Baltimore in 2011 and Anderson coaching the secondary (Pagano's expertise), it made sense for Anderson to follow Pagano to Indy in 2012. He helped safety Mike Adams make his first career Pro Bowl in 2014 and, under his watch, Antoine Bethea, Dwight Lowery, and others had good seasons as well.
Gillhamer also joined the Colts in 2012 as the secondary coach after serving in the same role at the University of Illinois in 2011. Before that, he was the safeties/secondary coach for the Carolina Panthers for a number of years (2004-2010). He has 37 years of experience in coaching, and under his watch a number of Colts improved and had career years - such as Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, Mike Adams, and others. Davis and Adams both made the Pro Bowl in 2014, the first career Pro Bowl for both players.
Roberts, like the others, was hired in 2012 as part of Chuck Pagano's initial coaching staff. Before that, he was the tight ends coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-2006), Cleveland Browns (2007-2008), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-2011). As a player, he won two national titles in college at Miami and two Super Bowls in the NFL with the Cowboys. While with the Colts, he coached up Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, who became one of the most successful tight end duos in league history in 2014 when they both caught eight touchdown passes, becoming the first tight end duo to do so. The position also accounted for 18 receiving touchdowns, setting a new franchise record.
Williams just completed his first season as running backs coach for the Colts after spending the previous three as the team's wide receivers coach (2012-2014). Williams has a long history of coaching wide receivers, making stops doing so at TCU (1988-1991), Minnesota (1992), Miami (1993-1995), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001), South Carolina (2003), Arizona (2004-2006), and North Carolina (2007-2011) before heading to the Colts. He was moved to running backs coach (which he hadn't coached since 1991 while at TCU) last year when the Colts hired Jim Hostler as the wide receivers coach. During Williams' time in Indy, he coached wideouts such as Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton and then last year running back Frank Gore.
Marandino was hired in 2012 as well as the team's head strength and conditioning coach, installing a new program after spending 2011 with the Eagles. Before that, he served as the strength and conditioning coach at Brown University from 1995-2011).
Ultimately, it's never easy to see coaches get fired because that means there are families that have to relocate and a lot goes into that, but these are moves that the Colts made in an effort to change things up and improve. It will be very interesting to see how quickly the jobs as filled, as often times when assistant coaches are fired there is a replacement already in mind. That might not be the case with all of these firings, but I'd think that Chuck Pagano already has some ideas about who he wants to target.