Head coach Chuck Pagano survived, but the assistant coach responsible for his defense didn’t.
The Indianapolis Colts have fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.
The news broke a day after Pagano received a four-year contract extension. The Colts (8-8) ranked in the bottom third in every major defensive category including 26th in total yards allowed and 25th in points allowed. Manusky, who came to Indianapolis with Pagano in 2012, was evidently considered part of the problem.
Three previous seasons saw the Colts show marginal improvement. In 2012, they ranked 26th in yards allowed and 21st in points allowed. A year later, they were 20th and ninth. In 2014, the yardage average dropped to 19th but the scoring defense improved to 11th.
Rapoport later reported the Colts have also fired tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts as well as secondary coaches Mike Gillhamer and Roy Anderson.
Pagano, expected to be more hands-on with the defense this past season, suggested changes were forthcoming during a Monday night appearance on NFL Network.
“We've had a bunch of discussions, like I said, and we’ve got a lot of things like everybody else that’s done playing,” Pagano said. “There are teams obviously that are still in preparation (mode); the teams that made the playoffs, obviously. But everybody else is still in the evaluation mode now, and we’re going to roll up our shirtsleeves and go to work. And, again, everything we do is based on two things: What’s best for this team and what gives us the best chance to win.”
Although the blitzing 3-4 scheme was led by the NFL’s No. 2 tackler in inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (150 tackles), the Colts had an inconsistent pass rush. They were 22nd in sacks per pass play and their 35 sacks tied for 22nd. The Colts lost two key players to season-ending injuries, defensive tackle Arthur Jones in preseason and rookie defensive tackle Henry Anderson in the eighth game.
Manusky’s firing means the Colts will start next season with two new coordinators from a season ago. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was fired halfway through his third season and replaced by associate head coach Rob Chudzinski.
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