Jim Irsay confirmed that Jim Caldwell will be the Colts next head coach. It’s only a matter of when. This comes as no surprise to any of us. Caldwell withdrawing himself for consideration for other jobs was a clear sign that the Colts had made some kind of commitment to him.
Again our official position is: who knows? Jim Caldwell seems to be as good a choice as anyone. He’s bright. He knows the players. He promotes stability in a system designed around doing things the ‘Colts way’. I don’t look at any of the ‘high profile’ coaches and say, “WE HAVE TO HAVE HIM!” in the same way I did when Tony Dungy became available. Seriously, who else could the Colts bring in? Marty? God forbid. Brian Billick? Lord, have mercy. Cowher? For a team whose only question each year is “Can we win in January”, he wouldn’t be that great a choice. His teams were famous for flameouts in January. So without any other sure things available, we’ll go on the record as endorsing Caldwell. If he’s good enough for Polian and Peyton, he’s good enough for us.
Speaking of that, I think it’s actually a product of good coaching to lose playoff games. In the playoffs, talent often wins out (except in 2001 when the Patriots were only team I’ve ever seen to be visibly worse than all three teams they beat-and no Patsrule, that’s not a slam. It’s a fact, and a compliment). A great coach can squeeze extra wins out of a team that didn’t deserve them, but come playoff time, the best teams win out. This year’s Colts were a banged up mess in a lot of ways, but Dungy kept everyone from noticing. In the end, they got beat by a good team becuase they couldn’t physically generate a pass rush with the talent they had on the field. It wasn’t a ‘coaching’ loss. It was the natural result of the club they fielded. Even Bill Belichick only won with an inferior team once. In 05 and 06, his Pats teams were clearly not the best clubs in football, and he didn’t win it all. The Colts need a coach that can keep the coaching staff together (they are the ones training all the young players), not make any glaring mistakes of time management or replay control, keep the team on an even keel, and let Manning run things on offense. Do that, and with the roster they have coming back, they’ll be among the favorites to bring home the title again next year.