We continue this series with Part 2, taking a look at the coaching staff.
I fully believe that owner Jim Irsay, general manager Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts are on the way back to some semblance of the team’s 2000s glory days, so I wanted to put together this project where I see what the Colts can do to get back to Irsay’s favorite era — the Peyton Manning glory days.
No one can snap their fingers and make this team completely constructed in just one offseason. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Players take time to develop. It also needs to be appreciated just how special those Manning-led teams were. They did things that we may never see again, and that’s OK.
What these Colts can do is continue to build a foundation to try and start another quasi-dynasty.
The most important thing that the Colts have done this offseason is relieve Chuck Pagano of his duties as head coach. The team spun its wheels and ultimately began regressing under him. With the influx of talent that Ballard has been able to bring in, you have to have a coach that will progress the program, and that’s not Pagano’s game.
The Colts’ head coach of the glory days was Tony Dungy. While there isn’t quite someone like him out there, there were some really good candidates for the Colts to choose from. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is reported to have the job in the bag. The only thing keeping the move from officially being announced is that the Patriots’ season still is going. It could take until early February if the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl.
With McDaniels on board, he reportedly has his coordinators in place — former Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz as offensive coordinator, and former Dallas Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus as defensive coordinator.
This reported coaching staff isn’t as accomplished as what Dungy’s initially was but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be. McDaniels has been a polarizing head coaching candidate for awhile. He already had one stint in that position with the Denver Broncos from 2009-10 but it went terribly. Aside from initially rolling with Kyle Orton as his quarterback after jettisoning Jay Cutler, McDaniels then drafted Tim Tebow in the first round of the draft and lived through “Tebow Time.”
The Broncos’ offensive inconsistency, McDaniels’ arrogance and alienating himself from people in the organization did him in, and his tenure ended prematurely during the 2010 season.
Since then, McDaniels reportedly has done everything that he can to learn from those previous mistakes and try to better himself as a coach. That linked piece actually has gotten many people, including myself, on board with McDaniels as a head coach again. If he has been humbled like he says he has, then that could be excellent for him and the Colts.
McDaniels brings a lot of positive qualities to the table. For one, he is young (41); he has head coaching experience; and he has got a decade of NFL coordinator experience. His style of offense would be a breath of fresh air for the Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck, who routinely is among the most hit and most sacked in the league. McDaniels’ offenses usually get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly, and it leans on pass-catchers to gain yards after the catch.
While it is totally fair to be apprehensive about McDaniels, he does deserve another chance.
As quickly as Irsay and the Colts reached out to Dungy following his dismissal from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ballard also has kept tabs on McDaniels for quite some time now. Like they did then with Dungy, the Colts got their guy.