The offseason moves just keep on coming for the Indianapolis Colts.
Two weeks ago, the Colts parted ways with team vice-chairman Bill Polian, vice-president/general manager Chris Polian and director of football operations Steve Champlin.
Late last week, Indianapolis hired former Philadelphia Eagles player personnel director Ryan Grigson to be its new general manager. And on Tuesday, after much speculation, the team confirmed that head coach Jim Caldwell had been dismissed after three seasons.
“I just want to thank Jim Caldwell and acknowledge all of the outstanding things that he has done for our franchise,” team owner Jim Irsay said during an afternoon press conference at the Colts’ West 56th Street headquarters.
“This was a difficult decision. I think it was based on the feeling that this was a direction the franchise needed to go. And I wanted to make sure that we took all the time we needed . . . to make sure that it was the right decision.”
Caldwell, who joined the Colts as quarterbacks coach in 2002, served as Indianapolis’ assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach in 2006-07 and was the associate head coach in 2008. He was promoted to the top job as the hand-picked successor to retiring head coach Tony Dungy a few weeks after the conclusion of the 2008 season.
In three seasons as head coach, Caldwell compiled an overall record of 26-22 (14-2, 10-6 and 2-14). He led Indianapolis to two AFC South crowns (2009, 2010), an AFC title in 2009 and an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV (losing 31-17 to New Orleans). The Colts dropped a 17-16 decision to the New York Jets in the 2010 AFC Divisional playoffs.
Injuries to key personnel played havoc with Indianapolis’ won-lost record the last two years. But it was the loss of several starters this season – most notably quarterback Peyton Manning – that contributed to the team’s overall collapse. The Colts dropped their first 13 games before rebounding with wins in two of their final three contests.
Manning underwent neck fusion surgery on Sept. 8, his third such medical procedure over a 19-month time period. While he remained on the Colts’ active roster all season, he did not practice with the team. The absence of the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player evolved into a revolving door at the quarterback position, with Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and, finally, Dan Orlovsky all getting work.
Indianapolis also played most of the season without the services of two veteran defensive stalwarts, middle linebacker Gary Brackett and strong safety Melvin Bullitt. They both sat out with shoulder injuries.
They were joined on the injury list for portions of the season by tight end Dallas Clark (broken fibula/pinched nerve in his neck), cornerback Jerraud Powers (dislocated elbow), rookie defensive tackle Drake Nevis (back), defensive tackle Eric Foster (ankle), rookie offensive tackle Ben Ijalana (knee) and rookie offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (ankle). Powers, Nevis, Foster and Ijalana all joined Brackett and Bullitt on the team’s injured reserve list.
Defensive issues forced the firing of second-year coordinator Larry Coyer in mid-November. And continued special teams problems led to the dismissal of third-year coordinator Ray Rychelski at the end of the season.
Despite all of the tumult associated with this year’s meltdown, there was still plenty of discussion as to whether Caldwell would keep his job.
As recently as Monday evening, it appeared as if he would stay on in the short term. Caldwell participated with Grigson as they interviewed former St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo to be the Colts’ new defensive coordinator. And he had gone ahead and sent his coaching staff on vacation after assuming that their jobs were safe.
Less than 24 hours later, though, his tenure was over and a search began immediately to find his replacement. Caldwell learned of his fate Tuesday during a 2 p.m. meeting.
“We appreciate the job that Coach Caldwell has done for the organization and the Indianapolis community,” the new general manager said. “I was briefly able to get to know the kind of man he is and what he represents. But after consulting with Mr. Irsay, we knew we had to go in a different direction. I wish Coach Caldwell and his family all the best.”
• Deadline for new coach? – According to both Irsay and Grigson, there isn’t a set time for how long the interview process will take. It’s expected, however, that both the Colts and league officials would like things to be wrapped up before the start of Super Bowl week in Indianapolis.
“There are 600 or so coaches currently working in the NFL. We want to find the best one,” the general manager said. “We’re going to do this the right way. We’re not going to be hurried.”
The Colts owner agreed.
“You’re going to keep all your options open in terms of how this thing might go because you’re going to do whatever you think is best. There are a lot of things might happen that you don’t anticipate,” Irsay said.
“Look at what happened when we let Jim Mora go and nobody, even Tony Dungy, was going to be available. So you just don’t know sometimes how these things turn. You’re ready to seize the moment whatever the opportunity is.”
As for having a new coach on board before the Super Bowl, he refused to set a time frame.
“You’d like to get it done sooner than later. But you can’t rush it. So I don’t think that’s a factor. Two weeks from today is still before a lot of the big stuff is rolling into town here or anything like that,” Irsay voiced. “We’d like to get it done within the next couple weeks. That’s just a rough time frame because you just don’t know. It could be sooner. It could be a little later. But the sooner the better.”
• Possible candidates – Among the names being bandied about include Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Marc Trestman of the Montreal Alouettes (Canadian Football League) and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Grigson and Mornhinweg worked together in Philadelphia. Arians is a former quarterbacks coach for the Colts, working with Manning during his first two seasons in the league. He went on to be the quarterbacks coach for Cleveland and Pittsburgh. He has been credited for his work with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The offseason moves just keep on coming for the Indianapolis Colts.
Colts not standing pat in looking toward 2013 season
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has quickly earned a reputation as someone who isn’t afraid to shake things up a bit.
Landry believes he'll acclimate to Colts system
Many Indianapolis fans have questioned why strong safety Laron Landry decided to skip the Colts' OTA workouts, especially since he was joining a new team with a somewhat different defensive system than what he was used to playing with the Jets.
He understands their concerns, but isn’t worried about learning the intricacies Colts’ 3-4 hybrid package.
Colts in harmony with new coordinator Hamilton
With new Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton now running the show, the Colts are in the middle of a metamorphosis from the downfield, big-play system that was utilized by former coordinator Bruce Arians to more of a West Coast scheme that will look to make more use of the short, controlled passing game.
According to Andrew Luck, so far so good.
- Pagano amazed by collection of veterans
Opening Day: Terre Haute Rex host Quincy
In his first season at the helm, first-year Terre Haute Rex manager Ronnie Prettyman is going to be surrounded by men he knows and trusts.
Luck having fun with his first OTAs
A year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck was unable to attend the Indianapolis Colts’ organized team activity practices due to school commitments at Stanford.
Luck, though, went on to have a stellar year for the Colts despite the lack of summer work with the team. Still, in a sense, he is a rookie during this year’s OTA workouts.
“These are my first OTAs. I missed these last year, so I think it’s great. It’s great to get on the field with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff. Obviously, some of us ran some of this stuff [offense] at Stanford [under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton]. But to get out there with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff is good,” Luck said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its first week of on-field voluntary practice sessions.
Colts' coordinators enjoying getting rookies acclimated
While the Indianapolis Colts put their rookies and a handful of second-year players through workouts this weekend at the team’s Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, a pair of first-year coordinators are getting a chance to do some valuable on-field work as well.
Werner, 36 others open Colts’ mini camp
The Indianapolis Colts welcomed 37 players to the start of the team’s rookie mini camp Friday at the West 56th Street headquarters.
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Werner at top of game
Bjoern Werner was a late comer to football. But after being selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Werner realizes that he has reached the pinnacle of the sport in a relatively short amount of time.
Colts select pass rusher Werner in first round
The Indianapolis Colts selected Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive lineman can also play left outside linebacker.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Direction clear for Colts in 2013 draft
The Indianapolis Colts head into the 2013 NFL Draft with some definite plans.
Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
Veteran defensive end Cory Redding is a big fan — literally and figuratively — of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Redding, who has become one of the Colts’ lockerroom leaders after just one season with the team, thinks he has some reasonable expectations of Indianapolis’ former No. 1 draft pick.
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser-priced players, the Indianapolis Colts’ big-time foray into the veteran free-agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
After adding five veteran free agent players to the Indianapolis Colts roster on Tuesday, general manager Ryan Grigson plucked two more plums late Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
The Indianapolis Colts were a busy team on the opening day of the National Football League’s veteran free agent market, which got underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
An Indianapolis Colt for life. Pencil in Jeff Saturday for that honor.
The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
The 14-year veteran center in the National Football League put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in-between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — that Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
Former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday will make his retirement from the National Football League official on Thursday.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts GM enjoying time at combine
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson makes no bones about it. He enjoys watching prospective football players strut their stuff.
Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
According to most National Football League draft observers, this year’s crop of prospects is deep with quality offensive and defensive linemen.
Among the offensive line candidates who have been showcasing their talents at the National Football Scouting Combine, which began in earnest Thursday and wraps up on Tuesday, the spotlight has been on the offensive tackles. Offensive left tackles in particular.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
The news coming out of the Indianapolis Colts headquarters Friday afternoon was not totally unexpected. Team officials have confirmed that two veteran players – former Pro Bowl defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie — will not be returning for the 2013 season.
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