Shutdown Corner - NFL

Are the wheels about to come off in Indianapolis? The Colts, models of consistency over the past decade, are going through some off-season turmoil in the wake of Tony Dungy's retirement. And Peyton Manning(notes), for one, isn't happy about it.

Offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd left the team last month in what was described as a decision based on a change to the NFL's pension plan. This sounds like a very reasonable explanation (the two men, aged 70 and 67, respectively, were able to get a lump-sum payout of $1 million as a result). Considering the circumstances, it also sounds like a convenient excuse.

With new coach Jim Caldwell trying to mold the offense into his own image, it's not too much of a stretch to think that Moore and Mudd were either nudged out or left after sensing that Caldwell's new direction might not jibe with their own ideas. This suggestion has been denied, but the mere fact that it had to be denied suggests that others are thinking the same thing too.

There are now questions about whether Moore or Mudd will return in different roles. Colts GM Bill Polian wants them back, but Clyde Christensen and Pete Metzelaars (you may remember him from Super Tecmo Bowl) have already "assumed the duties" of coordinator and line coach even though they apparently haven't been promoted.

Confused? So is Peyton Manning:

"I can't tell you what's going on. I will say I don't think it's been the most properly communicated scenario around here.
It's not a situation that I'm just thrilled about. I think the communication has been pretty poor in my opinion. Somebody says one thing, then somebody else says another thing.

I'm not sure everybody's on the same page in this building. I'm just trying to focus on playing quarterback well." 

Wow, Manning doesn't usually like to cast stones at people until after he collapses in the playoffs.

Sounds like all is not well in Colts-land. It's a distressing sign for Indy fans, but news that could bring some hope to the rest of the AFC.

Thanks, Stampede Blue

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