Head Coach Chuck Pagano has been true to his word since he has taken over for the Indianapolis Colts. Wednesday brought three new coaching hires that help complete a staff that has been depleted following a house-cleaning that started with Bill and Chris Polian.
Pagano targeted assistant secondary coach Roy Anderson from the Baltimore Ravens to take over as safeties coach with his new franchise. There is little doubt that Pagano is extremely familiar with Anderson from working with him in Baltimore. Additionally, Pagano's background working with NFL secondaries suggests that this is a very informed hiring decision and that Anderson gives his new boss a great deal of confidence.
Another Baltimore addition is former special teams assistant Marwan Maalouf, who helped coach one of the best special teams units in the NFL -- Baltimore improved from 18th to 8th in the NFL from 2009 to 2010. Maalouf is receiving a promotion to special teams coach but brings a resume to the Colts that projects well for special teams performance.
Finally, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end coach Alfredo Roberts has also joined the staff, filling the same role in Indianapolis. Roberts helped oversee increases in performance from Buccaneers tight ends, including helping Kellen Winslow excel in Tampe Bay. Roberts also brings playing experience as a former NFL tight end.
The most telling portion of the hirings is that safeties coach Roy Anderson was added before a new defensive coordinator has been announced. It's clear from this alone that he was high on Pagano's list as a necessary component in building what the new head coach foresees as a successful defensive renaissance.
The Colts Authority will continue following the coaching staff as it develops and update you when new hires are announced.
So far every hire from the GM down is a promotion from the previous responsibilities on another team. Roberts being the exception. To some extent I'm concerned about the Peter Principle kickinbg in with so many promotions in one year. You know, promoted to their level of incompetance. Dick LeBeau is an awesome DC but wasn't a good HC and there are many, many other examples that we all know. I sure hope the Colts new hires don't end up with this type of flop. We won't know until we know.If that happens, I sure hope that Pagono and the front office aren't reluctant to quickly identify and correct areas with shortcomings.
Secondary has been a huge weakness for a long time with the Colts, I'm glad that based on the coaches, that should change.
@MrNFL Special teams, too. THIS was The Polian's most significant failure, IMO. How many times have the Colts boned themselves over the recent years with poor special teams play? I don't really know these guys but I like the direction it's going. It's like he's building a house and paying extra attention to the foundation.
@naptown_ninja@MrNFL Except that good ST has virtually no long term correlation with winning. Of the top 10 teams in ST this year, only 5 made the play offs. Of the teams in the conference championships their ST ranks were 2, 5, 16 and 30th.
The team with the best special teams in the play-offs lost due to special teams play.
The Polians may have neglected ST, but that wasn't a failure, it was an explicit decision that makes the most sense given limited resources available to spend. I for one believe it was the right one.
@kasey_junk@naptown_ninja@MrNFL I will say that punt/kickoff returns can really change momentum of a game as well as well as really excite your crowd and team. I do not know the answer but what percentage of the time does a punt return or kickoff return turn into a turnover? most of the time the worst that happens is players not getting to the 20 on the kickoff.
@kasey_junk@paulcareyjr@MrNFL Better coverage is all I'm talking about. I believe everything you write about the randomness of punt/kickoff plays and the unimportance of special teams investment. I think the Colts need to be more consistent covering the kicks, and I'm glad our new HC has some special teams coaching experience. The days of leaning on #18 might be over, so punt coverage and run-defense are relevant again. I'm glad we've coaches who seem to recognize that
Personally, I'd just tell my kick returner to always touch it back if it is an option, and if it is not, run straight forward until contact and then fall to the ground. My punt returners would be taught to touch it back (let it go out of bounds) if possible, if not fair catch. Because from an aggregate stand point the downside risk of fumbles is way worse than any upside risk of a few more yards or the occasional long return.
In a non-salary cap league (for a team with no money problems), I'd say spend as much as you can making your special teams excellent, because it wouldn't be to the detriment of the rest of the team. But we don't live in that world.
Sure special teams matter a lot, but a lot less than the other aspects of the game. In a league that has a salary cap you have to pick and choose what you invest your resources in and every dollar over the minimum that you invest is a dollar you cannot invest in those other more important things.
For instance Ted Ginn Jr. was paid 1.4 million dollars this year and averaged a little more than 1 reception per game. He is the definition of a special teams hire. I'd rather spend 1.4 million dollars on something else, and over the long haul it is provable that it is more efficient to do so.
@paulcareyjr@kasey_junk@naptown_ninja@MrNFL It's my opinion that Colts ST units have been poorly coached, and exposed by opposing ST units that have been more fundamentally sound. I don't necessarily agree with "investing" in ST either. I'm optimistic though, that greater emphasis in this area will yield some positive results. And I would be just happy enough if I didn't have to hold my breath every time the Colts kicked or punted the ball away.
@kasey_junk@naptown_ninja@MrNFL Special teams matters a lot but there are other factors that go along with that as well. Field position is key and that is one thing they affect. It will not necessarily break your team if they are strong in Offense and Defense but if they are average it could cause it to be harder for the team to succeed.
As far as investing in it, most of the time it is not really a big investment, you really do not have to put much into it, get a WR that specializes in KR/PR that is getting paid 500,000 a year or so and you should be good as long as you get a coach that understands how to utilize their skills.
Also I would add if Ted Ginn was in the game and not hurt I doubt SF would have lost that game due to special teams play. That shows how big a factor special teams can have in a game, especially in the Playoffs.
@naptown_ninja@MrNFL Just to add, ST is even more variable than defense when it comes to being good or not. In the top 10 this year only 5 were in the top 10 last year. The second best team for ST this year was 22nd the year before. The Ravens went from the 4th best ST to the third worst in 1 year.
Investing in ST does not make sense.