Colts fans around the world are likely celebrating in the streets this afternoon because Indianapolis has fired defensive coordinator Larry Coyer. ESPN AFC South Blogger Paul Kuharsky indicates that current linebackers coach Mike Murphy will take over the post.
Interestingly enough, Murphy is one coach I have been really happy with this season. There is a reason vice chairman Bill Polian says that the current group of linebackers play as well as any group of three linebackers in the league. There has been noticeable improvement by Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, and Philip Wheeler in maintaining gap security and fulfilling their other responsibilities.
Murphy has been the Colts linebackers coach for 14 years, and has coached in the NFL in some capacity for 27. Even in 2010, Murphy put two rookies on the field for much of the season and those players have remained starters and have promising futures.
It will be interesting to see how Murphy chooses to approach changes to the Colts defense. With a focus in the middle of the field throughout much of his coaching career, will there be a great emphasis on linebacker play? Will the team blitz less or more? How will the coverage responsibilities change?
Head Coach Jim Cadlwell explained that the change was made to, “improve communication and production” and that “this is the most effective and realistic way to move forward and win games this season.”
Murphy should know more about the talent he’s working with than anyone else in the organization. One would think that the performance of the linebackers will continue to improve as he sets them up for success with tweaks to the Tampa 2.
If things don’t go well with Murphy, do not be surprised to see another defensive coordinator at the beginning of the 2012 season. In fact, there is a chance that Murphy could simply be a placeholder — though no one on the team has indicated that thus far.
With an entire fan base screaming for a change, the move indicates that the front office is not going to settle for what they have now. Congratulations to Mike Murphy for his opportunity to right the defensive ship in Indianapolis.
Not to be outdone, the Jacksonville Jaguars stole the AFC South spotlight. Owner Wayne Weaver announced that he is selling the team to Shahid Khan. It has also been announced that long-time Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio has been fired.