Colts Players Discuss Adapting to Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell
INDIANAPOLIS – When it comes to new Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell, Jeff Saturday said not only is there already a relationship, but that so far, it couldn't be better.
Now, he just hopes it stays that way.
Caldwell, after seven years as a Colts assistant, including a year as associate head coach, in January succeeded Tony Dungy as head coach, and with the ongoing 2009 organized team activities the first time many Colts players have spoken publicly since the hiring, there was an obvious theme this week.
Just what is Coach Caldwell like?
And how have the players responded?
Saturday, the Colts' three-time Pro Bowl center, said from his perspective, the perspective is simple. And very, very optimistic.
"He's been my quarterback coach for years," Saturday said Tuesday, the third day of the Colts' 2009 organized team activities, which will continue through the first two weeks of June at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "I've loved working with him, so hopefully, it won't change too much."
"I'm hoping not," he added.
Such was the reaction this week when players were asked about Caldwell – that while it is too early to assess him as a game-day, in-season head coach, he thus far has moved comfortably into his new position.
"I feel like I know him as a quarterback's coach, but I'm getting to know him as a head coach," Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said of Caldwell, who coached quarterbacks from 2002-08. "Every team meeting I'm sitting on the front row, upright with my pen and paper out. Everybody wants to make a good impression on the new coach.
"He told us in the first meeting . . . he's 54 years old, Coach Dungy has a big influence on him, he's going to do some things the way Coach Dungy did them, but a lot of things he's going to do his own way."
Dungy's influence is one that Caldwell said this week has been strong – and one about which he often has been asked.
"I really do believe . . . that there are a lot more similarities," Caldwell said. "My job here is not to create any differences, but to build up on what's already been established. I think our program over the years has been well established. Often times, when you are constructing a building, the first floor doesn't always look like the second. The second doesn't always look like the third. There may be some adjustments. There may be a room that's a little out of line from the first floor.
"Nevertheless, we are headed in the right direction, we think. That's kind of the way I look at it. It's being in what already has been established. The comparisons are going to be there and maybe you all will be able to determine better than I."
Colts tight end Dallas Clark said while there is a different vibe from Dungy and Caldwell, there are similarities.
"It's too early to tell, but with the couple of meetings we've had, it's definitely going to be different," Clark said. "There are a lot of similarities, but they're two different men with very similar foundations, very similar core beliefs in how you run a team. It's exciting. It's exciting as a player to see what changes are going to be made and what's going to stay the same."
And while Saturday said his relationship with Caldwell is solid, he also said compared to Dungy, Caldwell is "probably more direct."
"He may be a little more aggressive in that he wants people to show up at a certain time," Saturday said. "In workouts, he wants groups to start together. So I'm at 8:30 every morning, that's my group. I'm going to show up, I'm going to stretch with those guys. So probably a little more structured. He likes guys being the same, working together and getting that consistency. We probably have 10-15 guys every day that will be working at that time and he likes it to stay that way.
"When you sit down in meetings, he's more poignant to it. He says, 'Hey, this is how it's going to go, this is how I am.' He raises his voice. You can tell he gets agitated and can raise his voice and can get after you with the best of them.
"On the field, I don't know what his coaching style is going to be like. I don't know if he's going to change things. But off the field, he's a fantastic person. I have a ton of respect for him."