Christensen, Metzelaars to Assume New Coaching Duties, Caldwell Says
INDIANAPOLIS – Whatever the situation in recent seasons, the Colts have adapted and they have done so successfully.
Jim Caldwell said that's the approach now.
Caldwell, who is entering his first season as the Colts' head coach, said on Tuesday that in the wake of the retirement of longtime offensive assistants Tom Moore and Howard Mudd, longtime assistants Clyde Christensen and Pete Metzelaars will assume new duties.
"That's one of the things that's great about our team – we've always wanted to deal with the here and now," Caldwell said Tuesday during a press availability following the team's first organized team activity of the 2009 offseason.
"Our team always has been great in terms of transitions. Year in and year out, a lot of people have taken notice of the fact we may have a guy who is injured and it's required that someone step in and do a job for them. You can go back for quite some time and see we typically make those transitions fairly well. . . .
"We've got to look ahead. We have to look at where we are and find ways to get better."
Christensen, the wide receivers coach from 2002-08 who recently became the team's assistant head coach, will assume the duties of offensive coordinator, Caldwell said. Moore had been the offensive coordinator since 1998.
Metzelaars, an assistant since 2004, will assume the duties of offensive line coach, Caldwell said. Mudd had held the position since 1998.
"Tom and Howard are two of the best coaches who have ever coached in this game at this level," Caldwell said. "Nevertheless, I think you'll find that the two guys we have who are assuming those duties have been in this system and know the system extremely well and will function quite well within it also."
Caldwell said he expects the transition from Moore and Mudd to Christensen and Metzelaars to be smooth.
"Much like anything else we try to focus on where we are right now," Caldwell said. "You have a better chance of getting better (that way) rather than if you look down the road into the future. There are always some adjustments to be made, but for the most part, within our system, it's been the same. There haven't been any changes. We have a number of guys who are veteran guys and who do a great job understanding the execution of it. We anticipate that that will continue."
Caldwell said the staff has been "bolstered" with the addition of two interns who will help at the two positions:
• Ron Johnson, who will assist Christensen at receiver. Johnson, a fourth-round selection by Baltimore in the 2002 NFL Draft, also spent time with Washington and Chicago before playing with the Orlando Predators of the Arena League in 2006 and 2007. He also played with the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena League.
• Frank Winters, who will assist Metzelaars at offensive line. Winters played center in the NFL from 1987-2002, spending time with Cleveland, the New York Giants and Kansas City before spending 11 seasons with Green Bay. He started for Green Bay from 1993-2002 and earned Pro Bowl honors in 1996.
"We had planned to do this, anyway, but it worked out well," Caldwell said.
Caldwell also addressed the issue of overall transition, saying "our team has responded extremely well, even with my transition into the head coaching position.
"They've been attentive," Caldwell said. "They've been vibrant. They have been enthusiastic. The effort has been outstanding and I think we'll continue to get better. That's our goal for this next month, is to focus in where we are here and now and to get better."
Caldwell also addressed several other topics Tuesday:
• On wide receiver Reggie Wayne working out in Miami rather than attending OTAs: "That has not been unusual the last few years. Those guys from the University of Miami love working out with one another, and he's been doing that for quite some time. He comes back in great shape and certainly he has been around here long enough he knows the system."
• On the progress of injured players: "We've certainly been pleased with the progress. We've had a few guys on that list – Mike Hart, Marlin Jackson, Bob Sanders – those guys are all progressing nicely. They're doing a good job in terms of rehab and the commitment to rehab."
• On the progress of offensive guard Ryan Lilja, who missed last season with a knee injury: "He's working well. He's making good progress. He's further along than he's ever been. . . . He's coming along. He really is progressing. We're hopefully optimistic."