Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) asked who will follow Caldwell if the Colts change directions. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star's Tom James says the media have their guess:
If he goes, Jeff Fisher is the media room pick.
Carroll has his own picks though:
Ok Colts fans - be REALISTIC. Who will replace Caldwell. My guess is Dom Capers. My upside pick is Wade Phillips.
1. I am not so sure a 3-4 is so hard to build from our pieces. If Hughes can have a career it would seem to be as a 3-4 OLB where Mathis and Wheeler also fit on paper. Many of our DL seem on paper to fit as 3-4 ends including Brayton and Anderson. Obviously we need a couple NTs and I have no clue what you do with Free but on paper it seems some pieces would fit the scheme.
2. If we fail to make our decision scheme agnostic, I am afraid we end up with a reject from the Dungy tree like Marinelli
3. If we intend to force current coaches on our new head coaching hire, we are not shopping off the top shelf but from the bargain bin.
A defensive coachinator to go along with Peyton for the last couple years could work out just fine. If we're faced with starting Luck next season, though, I would prefer to let Murphy continue to work with the defense and bring in an offensive mind. As good as the kid is/may be, I think what has happened this year should make us turn away from letting another QB completely run the offense. I'm fine with letting Manning continue to do so if he is around, of course, but I think it would be a bad move to let another era of the same sort begin.
If it's going to be Dom Capers or Wade Phillips, I see no reason to fire Caldwell. You don't fire a coach to replace him with someone equal (at the very best, I think both of them are worse). Lateral movement, or change just to change, is the worst mistake I can imagine right now. Don't do it.
I'm not sure Caldwell will be fired. It certainly wouldn't suprise me if he was, but it's no guarantee. Somewhat the same as backup QB has been during Peytons career, the head coaching job in Indy, isn't the most atractive job in the world to many coaches. Head coaches want to put their own stamp on the franchise they choose, and Indy already has everything in place schematically. It's Peyton's offense and Dungy's defense. The last time the Colts strayed from those philosophies was with Larry Coyer, and that didn't exacty pan out. This really limits who would be a good fit. Now, if Manning is done, that changes everything. If that is the case, I think they keep the cover 2 in place and look to bring in an offensive minded coach. Two reasons for this. One is the Colts have learned this year that the offense they have built over the last 14 years is built exclusively for Manning's skill set, and since Manning's skill set is one of a kind, a new offense would almost be mandatory. The second is that based on the talent we have on defense, the cover 2 is without a doubt the best defense to run. We would need a complete overhaul of the D-line and secondary to switch out of the cover 2. Don't believe me. Two words, Larry Coyer.
Both have proven themselves to be good and creative defensive coordinators with success at multiple stops. Those are far better resumes than Caldwell, even with their recent "failings." Even if they've bonked off the glass ceiling several times each they're still more qualified than Caldwell ever was.
That said, neither makes any sense for a roster currently constructed without any viable pieces for the 3-4 defense that both coaches prefer. And I'm not sure Phillips will even get head coaching interviews or that Capers would want to leave a cushy position with the NFL's best team two years running.
Most people that write about this stuff are so obviously clueless about football that it makes me wonder how they're even employed.
@WillyDuer Being a quality Defensive Coordinator does not make you qualified to be a Head Coach. Yes, it's a start, but it's not enough. For every Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin, there's a Leslie Frazier and Wade Phillips.
I was never a fan of Dom Capers in Houston, and I think Jim Caldwell, while not a great strategist, is a much better leader of a team than Wade Phillips has ever been. He was just bad in Dallas.
And you're right on about the defensive structuring... unless that's the route Polian wants to take. I have to admit, an aggressive 3-4 defense with a Peyton Manning-led aggressive offense would be terrifying - if, and it's a big IF, the Colts could afford all the necessary pieces.