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INDIANAPOLIS – Change was needed.
That was obvious at the end of the 2017 season.
Chuck Pagano’s voice, message and philosophy were not resonating enough for the Colts to be a playoff contending team.
After a three-year winning season drought (the first time since 1989-1991), Jim Irsay made the decision to part ways with Pagano after 6 years in Indy.
The Josh McDaniels fiasco and drama played out over the next month before Chris Ballard had to restart the search process, and eventually settled on Frank Reich.
While Reich wasn’t really even on Ballard’s initial radar, the former NFL quarterback is the head man now in Indianapolis.
And his style of coaching is resonating.
“The first day I got here, I felt, ‘Is this what a real organization feels like?’ third-year receiver Chester Rogers pondered earlier this spring.
“Just the energy, coaches, the atmosphere. It really feels different. I’m really loving it.”
Even veterans like Anthony Castonzo and T.Y. Hilton acknowledged, albeit not as directly as Rogers, that such a change was needed.
“It is exciting though, because it’s cool to shake things up and to have kind of a new beginning,” Castonzo said. “I think it’s good. You kind of get that new sense of you’ve got to prove yourself. I think it’s going to be good. There’s no real relationships. You’ve got to build relationships, and you build trust. It’s not a relationship that you’ve shown people in the past, ‘This is how I do things. This is how I play.’ So you’ve got to let all these new people know that this is how I play, this is how I go about my business. Whether that kind of re-sparks something or whether it just kind of makes you dig in a little bit more, I think that the results are usually positive with that.”
“I come into the team meeting room, they’re bumping music, something we’re not used to, and it’s great,” Hilton said of the new atmosphere earlier this year. “Gets the guys up, ready and (full) attention to the meetings. It’s fun. The coaching staff is bringing a lot of new energy, and the team is just feeding off it.”
Castonzo calls it a ‘youthful energy’ from the new staff.
The youth part is definitely true with the Colts employing a first-time head coach and all 3 coordinators embarking on their first year at such a high-level NFL post.
On defense, it’s a change in scheme (from a 3-4 to a 4-3), while looking for quicker, more athletic players as the Colts turn back to the defensive system seen a decade ago by the franchise.
Things are different in Indianapolis.
They often say change is good.
Is the right change at the helm of the Colts?