ANDERSON, Ind. — Rob Chudzinski is cutting out the middle man.
Chudzinski, the Colts' offensive coordinator, will be taking advantage of a new league rule that allows him to call plays directly to the quarterback from up in the booth, where he'll continue to be sitting for all games this season, starting with Sunday's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers in Canton, Ohio.
Previously, NFL coaches with headsets in the booth were not permitted to relay a play call to the quarterback unless the coach was physically on the field. Last year, after taking over the play-calling duties coordinator midway through the season, Chudzinski would have to radio in the play call down to then-quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen on the sidelines, who would, in turn, relay it to the quarterback via their in-helmet radio.
The league changed that rule in March at the annual NFL Owner's Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., however.
"That'll be new, be able to go directly to the quarterbacks, so we'll work through that in the first few preseason games and see how that goes," Chudzinski said Thursday. "It's new for everybody in the league this season, so I'm excited about it and looking forward to it and expect that we won't have any issues with it."
If there are radio issues — Chudzinski said it's a common problem just about each week — then the Colts' staff and players, particularly their quarterbacks, have a plan in place to make sure an effective play is called, regardless.
"We have a contingency plan for all scenarios," Chudzinski said. "Back when it was communication to the sideline and then communication from the sideline to the quarterback, (if) we had any type of communication breakdown, we had plays specifically that the quarterback would get to if he couldn't hear or didn't know, as well as the coach on the sideline, as well, knowing what we are wanting in those particular scenarios."
Chudzinski says he prefers to call the game from an elevated view in a booth because of a few simple reasons, such as overall vision and accessibility.
"I think you can see the game better up there, as far as understanding what exactly they're running and responding," he said. "The issues that come up — why a particular play doesn't work — you have a better view of why that happened."
Also, a booth tends to be "a little bit calmer environment" than down on the sidelines.
"You can lay things out and work through our gameplan in terms of that, as opposed to being down there and you're in the middle of the rain or the middle of the elements and all those type of things," Chudzinski said.Monachino's approach
Entering his first season as the Colts' defensive coordinator, Monachino says he will not be joining his offensive counterpart up in the booth during games.
"I'll be down on the sideline," he said. "We'll have three guys up in the box and four guys down on the field."
Monachino, who has experience communicating defensive plays at the high school, college and professional levels, knows at times "it'll be a mad dash for information between every snap."
"And that's the key to the game, is how well you think and how you well you communicate when the play clock's running," he said. "So we've got that all detailed out and ready to go, and we'll see how it comes to bear on Sunday."
Sunday's game against the Packers will represent Monachino's first-ever game as an NFL defensive coordinator. He said he's excited about the opportunity to finally see his players in game action after eight months of planning, preparing and practicing.
"I know what a blessing it is to be here. I know what a blessing it is to be in this league, period," Monachino said. "To have a leadership role in this league is something that's rare; there aren't many of them. But of course I'm excited. I can't wait to get to Canton on Sunday and see how our guys perform. It's going to be a big day for me and it's going to be a big day for a lot of our players, too."